State of the Art: Why Digital Fabrication is at the Heart of PCA’s Growth with Oli Raud

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In this episode of First Things First, I sit down with Oli Raud, Strategic Funding Manager at Plymouth College of Art (PCA). In particular, Oli is project manager for a number of youth educational groups focused on IoT and funded by the European Union.

The Story

Shaping a Future for the Innovative Economy

Let’s be frank: ‘creative’ art students rarely find themselves or imagine themselves in an electronics fabrication lab. But now more than ever, they deserve to be in them. With the advent of quick fabrication technologies like 3D printing, small batch production, laser cutting and engraving, affordable CNC machines, and more… the creative mind truly can be unleashed in electronic design labs nowadays.

Plymouth College of Art’s Fab Lab turns creatives into ‘makers’ – teaching high school and university age students the skills they need to go out and ‘make’ the product and designs of the future. Oli might not be a maker by trade… but he does have the forethought and insight to offer these educational services to the next generation.

The Lesson

Harness the Democratization of IoT Technology

I don’t think this needs to be clarification, but to be sure: Plymouth is not London. Offering such innovative education to the youth of Southwest England required a special drive and knack for fund raising. Even if Parliament won’t give Plymouth a proper motorway, Oli is giving Plymouth’s youth a different type of ‘motorway’ to accelerate their own careers into the fast moving world of technology. Oli explores what it takes for an English arts school to get EU funding in a post-Brexit world… and how you, the listeners, can help his mission.

Democratization of IoT technology is enabled by ever-decreasing costs and ever-increasing support and infrastructure from partners that you can make use of. If IoT is available at an industrial-quality level for the students of PCA, it also available for your own enterprise.
Look to Partners for support: to be sure, Oli doesn’t do all this alone. Whether its taking advantage of EU funding or working with local technology partners and fabricators. Oli knows that to give his students real life experience, working within a network of providers is very important.

About Our Guest: Oliver Raud

As Strategic Funding Manager for Plymouth College of Art, Oli is driven by helping young people, local communities and businesses in the Creative and Cultural Industries of Plymouth, the wider South West and across Europe. His role encompasses the development of partner networks, project consortia and funding applications in order to carve out opportunities for future careers, creative and artistic business growth and the promotion of social cohesion.

Oli’s background is in languages, translation and interpreting and European funding, working closely with many different sectors across Europe.

Oli is actively looking for new partnerships across the UK and EU in the fields of education, skills, economic development and social inclusion with a focus on the Creative and Cultural industries, for people young and old.


“It’s not to say that engineers aren’t hugely creative. They are, but absolutely. But I think what’s interesting is it not coming from a creative space, you do get a different perspective.”

“Design’s strategic importance is increasing outside of the beautification to UX and UI – extremely important.”

Additional resources

About our sponsor

First Things First is sponsored by Telit, a global provider of wireless connectivity modules, platforms, IoT operator services and professional services. Telit supports thousands of direct and indirect customers by enabling hundreds of millions of connected ‘things.’ With almost two decades of IoT innovation experience, Telit delivers secure, integrated end-to-end IoT solutions for many of the world’s largest brands, including enterprises, OEMs, system integrators, and service providers across industries.