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Ian Clifford

Moose-tamer, Wizard, and Shirt-Fancier in London, United Kingdom

Ian Clifford

Moose-tamer, Wizard, and Shirt-Fancier in London, United Kingdom

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The early 1980s: teenager with failed rock hairstyle and discovery of no musical talent. Had to develop sense of humour instead.

Late 1980s: A Degree in Theatre in Manchester UK and then a postgraduate Diploma in Community Theatre where I worked in two prisons creating a cabaret and filmed a soap opera with prisoners. Also worked with disabled kids and adults using theatre as therapy. Learned: prisoners are excellent actors. Have used theatre training every day since: communications, sales, comedy, deception.

Early 1990s: Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Beijing in the last crazy month of the Soviet Union, then 9 months travelling in China before cycling over the Himalayas from Lhasa to Kathmandu (600 miles in six weeks at 17,000 ft). Arrived in Nepal weighing 55kg but with lungs like airships. Cycled on into India, where sold bike to hippy called Hero. Learned: Yaks sleep standing up, and if you stop pedalling you die.

Late 1990s: Set up COSMIC, a company based in a youth club in rural UK, employing young people to build websites for local businesses during dotcom boom. Built a mobile training centre in shape of Space Shuttle. I was the only person in UK with their own spacecraft*. Raised over £1.4m in public funding during 7 years. Left the organisation I founded when I knew there was nothing more I could add to it. (*Spacecraft not actually tested in space).

Early 2000s: joined government scheme supporting 6000 “UK online centres” (places where people get help with technology). I initially managed 800 centres in SW of England, then managed national projects for all centres. Learned Prince2 project management skills, co-ordinated multiple (tech platform) projects.

Late 2000s: Culmination of 8 years with UKOL was successful submission of £30m tender to UK govt for which I wrote entire business model. Left to form Telecentre Europe, an International Association of EU Telecentre networks (like UKOL), becoming its first Chair, and recruiting its team. Learned that I had a middle-aged obsession for loud shirts.

Early 2010s: Spent too much money on shirts. Designed and developed Skillage, an online platform to help young people learn about tech. 50k users to date. Started consulting for Microsoft, Telecentres and European Commission (as funding expert).

Middle 2010s... Started YouRock, an employability platform for young people, but this time as my own adventure. Raised money crowdfunding and then from corporate sponsor. Now looking for new adventures...

  • Work