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Ciara Ready To Help Build On Opencast’s Success As Head Of Architecture

ONE of the UK’s fastest-growing technology companies has appointed a vastly experienced head of architecture.

Ciara Conway joins Tyneside-founded national consultancy Opencast from Aviva, where she was Group chief architect.

Ciara has held senior IT roles at major banks and financial services companies such as Natwest, Lloyds, CYBG and insurance giant Aviva. She’s also worked for the European Space Agency (ESA).

Ciara joined Opencast in February and has already recognised the unique culture of the business: “Our culture is warm, welcoming, open, genuine and honest. It’s also an ambitious company and working at a pace I enjoy.

“I’ve also been really impressed with Opencast’s commitment to diversity and its promotion of women in tech. Its something I’m passionate about – I remember interviewing 87 people for a role at one of the banks I was working at and only three were women. This has to change.”

She points to the forthcoming International Women’s Day (March 8) as an opportunity to raise the profile, and expectations of women working in tech. The theme for the day is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.’

“I’ll be working hard to make our architectural team as diverse as possible, including in management positions. Getting women into architecture teams has traditionally been a particular challenge, but I know Opencast shares my ambition to change that here, as well as encouraging and promoting women in the tech sector more widely.”

The architecture team she leads is about 20 strong, and she aims to expand it further: “We have a great team here, it’s very talented and there is so much opportunity to expand this area of the business further – particularly into new other architectural areas such as infrastructure and data.

“Opencast is such a successful company and is growing so fast and I think our team can certainly help further growth,” she said.

Opencast specialises in designing, building and running user-centred digital and technology solutions. Its work for the government – including its biggest clients HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – develops services that support critical national infrastructure and help millions of citizens through tax, benefit and support services.

Founded in 2012, the company has grown quickly to become one of the north east’s most successful technology businesses – last year employing its 400th team member. It is also one of the North East’s most attractive employers, last year earning a Newsweek accolade as the region’s Most Loved Workplace, as well as being in the UK’s top 20.

The company has also opened new city hubs, in London, Edinburgh and Leeds – with a new hub opening this spring in Glasgow, where Ciara will be based,

Lee Foster, Opencast’s chief technology officer, said: “Ciara’s knowledge and experience of leading architecture teams, driving technology strategy and delivering transformation initiatives for large organisations will be invaluable in helping us to shape our architecture practice and service offering, diversify our client base, and expand the variety of work we can offer our people.

“Working from our new Glasgow hub, Ciara will also strengthen our leadership presence in an important growth region for us both in terms of our people and new business opportunities.”

About Opencast

Opencast is a growing team of specialists who work at the heart of government, global finance and growth enterprise with a range of technology and digital consultancy services

It specialises in developing end-to-end enterprise solutions for government, health and social care providers and global financial services, as well as for renewable energy and regional enterprises.

Opencast provides services in digital architecture, user-centred design, software, digital & technical delivery, DevOps, cloud & platform engineering, and live services support.

The company was founded in 2012 by co-chairs Charlie Hoult and Mike O’Brien. It is headquartered at Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne, with our people located nationwide, including in London, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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