Ireland’s Digital Champion David Puttnam To Deliver All Aboard 2017’s Keynote Address 

Ireland’s Digital Champion David Puttnam To Deliver All Aboard 2017’s Keynote Address

300-plus national and regional events involving Ireland’s education sector are taking place this week as part of All Aboard 2017, a week (3-7 April) to build confidence in Ireland’s digital skills for learning that features a keynote address from Ireland’s Digital Champion, David Puttnam today (Wednesday 5 April 2017, 11am, The Royal Irish Academy).

The renowned film-maker and digital skills enthusiast’s address will mark the highlight of an All Aboard 2017 programme that is being co-run by The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education  and 16 of Ireland’s higher education institutions and that involves primary and secondary schools, further education and training centres, adult literacy centres and lifelong learning programmes.

Speaking for the National Forum, Director, Dr Terry Maguire said:

“We are honoured to host Lord Puttnam’s address and welcome his support for All Aboard 2017. We look forward to hearing his thinking on how Ireland can capitalise on its digital potential specifically in relation to our education sector, business arena and in local communities.”

Appointed in 2012 as Ireland’s Digital Champion, David Puttnam provides leadership, encourages individuals to engage with digital and helps to achieve Ireland’s National Digital Strategy goals. Digital Champions are ambassadors for the Digital Agenda, appointed by EU member states to help every European become digital. They are all people who lead innovative projects in ICT education, digital inclusion, access and e-government.

All Aboard 2017 is based on The National Forum’s report “Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: A Roadmap for Enhancement in a Digital World 2015:2017” which made a key recommendation for ‘A co-ordinated, multi-level approach to foster digital literacy, skills and confidence among students at all levels of education…”. To access copy of the report click here. The initiative will build on the All Aboard Digital Skills Framework funded under the government’s Teaching and Learning Enhancement fund 2014 (

The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education was announced by the Minister for Education and Skills in 2012. The role of the Forum is to enhance the teaching and learning for all students in higher education. Engaging with leaders, managers, teachers and students, the Forum will mobilise expertise and inputs from across the entire sector to extend and shape best practice in all institutes of higher education in Ireland.

David Puttnam- Biographical Note

David spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle. His films have won ten Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme D’Or at Cannes. From 1994 to 2004 he was Vice President and Chair of Trustees at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in 2006. He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on his work in public policy as it relates to education, the environment, and the creative and communications industries. In 1998 he founded the National Teaching Awards, which he chaired until 2008, also serving as the first Chair of the General Teaching Council from 2000 to 2002. From July 2002 to July 2009 he was president of UNICEF UK, engaging with issues as diverse as water security and child trafficking.

He was Chancellor of the Open University and Chancellor of The University of Sunderland. He is President of the Film Distributors’ Association; Chair of the TSL Advisory Board; Chair of the Academic Board, Pearson College; a UNICEF Ambassador, and Adjunct Professor of Film Studies and Digital Humanities at University College Cork.

He was Deputy Chairman of Channel 4 Television (2006 – 2012) and The Sage Gateshead (2007- 2012), founding Chair of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and Chair of both the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television and the National Film and Television School for ten years the latter of which he is an honorary fellow. David was Vice President of BAFTA, Trustee and and Chair of of Trustees from 1993-2004 and was awarded a BAFTA fellowship in 2006. He has also served as a trustee of the Tate Gallery, the Science Museum, the Thomson Foundation and a great number of other organisations.
In 2007 he was appointed Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill, awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995, and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. In France he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, becoming an Officer in 1992, and a Commander in 2006. He has been the recipient of more than 40 honorary degrees from Universities in the UK and overseas, most recently being that from Trinity College, Dublin..

In 2012 he was appointed the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Last year he was appointed as International Ambassador for WWF. As Ireland’s Digital Champion, he fronted “Making Ireland Click” a four-part TV series broadcast on RTE1 dedicated to helping people to do more with digital.