Belfast Telegraph

Google guru back in his old Belfast school to give tech talk

By Jamie Stinson

Google's Belfast-born communications guru Peter Barron will hold a talk tomorrow at his old school 'Inst' about the changing world of media and technology.

The Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI) former pupil will return to give a talk highlighting the importance of including media and technology in the education curriculum.

The vice president of communications for Google in Europe, the Middle East and Africa joined the tech giant in 2008 after working as a journalist for 18 years.

Mr Barron edited BBC flagship current affairs show Newsnight for four years, and previously worked for Channel 4 news and Tonight with Trevor McDonald.

Mr Barron, originally from Four Winds in south-east Belfast, will discuss the importance of technology through his experience, and which skills will become more relevant in the future. He has reminisced that as editor of Newsnight he tried to embrace new media - much to the chagrin of then-host Jeremy Paxman.

Mr Barron said it was good that so many Northern Ireland schools were embracing technology skills.

"It's exciting to see the growth in the number of tech start-ups and global technology companies basing themselves in Northern Ireland," Mr Barron said.

"It's crucial for the economy that we prepare the next generation for the great opportunities that exist, and I'm delighted to see that my old school, RBAI, and other schools here are embracing technology and preparing young people to take the sector forward."

The tech sector and the education system need to work together to ensure students are being given the right skills, RBAI principal Janet Williamson said.

"The rise in high-quality IT-related jobs and opportunities in Northern Ireland makes it is essential to align the needs of employers and higher education with our curriculum and careers guidance, ensuring our young people develop the skills sets for the future."

Mr Barron left RBAI in 1981. Other former classmates have gone into the tech sector including Colin Brown, managing director of IT services firm Softcat, and David Holmes, corporate sales director of card payment processor Worldpay in Ireland.

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