Digital Skills conference hits all the right buttons with our IT students

“My kids will probably never need to learn to drive.”

This was one of the stand-out quotes from a presenter at our Digital Skills conference at the University of Hull a couple of weeks ago.  He assured us that driverless cars will be part of our daily lives, and sooner than we think. 

 

With the world of technology changing faster than you could ever imagine, and with interest in our digital, games design, web development and technical support classes soaring, we had decided to arrange this conference for some local experts to present to our IT students and those from our partner colleges.

We were delighted to welcome speakers from

The day focused on bridging the gap between education and employment, and one of the key messages to all the students was to invest in themselves now, to get clued up on effective job hunting, to be pro-active and find ways of evidencing their passion for the subject outside of the classroom.

Tina Jenkinson from LMI Humber shared ideas for effective job hunting, looking at key sectors that are growing in The Humber region which offer digital opportunities.

Jon Polling from Sauce told the students that the digital sector jobs in Hull had increased by 15% over the last four years, beating the national average of 13.2%.

Our guest from GCHQ (and yes we were asked to remove the photos from social media!) made everyone aware of their digital footprint, and said it would be wise to google yourself and see what others can find out about  you before you apply for that job you really want. And even then, deleted data is still trackable. 

Aslan from VISR, specialists in mixed reality technology, encouraged students to get in touch, and told them it was essential that they pursued their passions out of class:

Build that website, develop that app, have something to talk about at an interview that makes us want to hire you.

Craig from KCOM- who employ a lot of local people – talked about the aims of their business and how our students could contribute to their future success in a range of roles which all require up to date digital skills.

John Harrison from the University’s Careers team explained what a huge impact our students can make in the digital sector and encouraged them to listen to careers advice at sixth form / college to help make the best decision.

In the afternoon the students had a tour of the university and were then given the chance to speak to these and other local digital companies in the afternoon’s ‘marketplace’, to explore opportunities and help them consider all their options within the digital sector.

The students agreed it had been both a useful and enjoyable event:

Theo told us “It was good to hear about all of the opportunities available in the digital sector. The information was very informative and I loved talking to the employers in the marketplace.”

Jessica commented, “I enjoyed the VISR talk as it intrigued me and it made me want to learn more about it”.

And Connor agreed, “I enjoyed the VISR talk and would love to go and do the program with them.”

A hugely successful day, and Wilberforce’s Vice-Principal Ben Wallis, responsible for setting up the event remarked:

“This is just one example of the value-added opportunities we afford our students. For them to be able to get this sort of advice, at this stage in their learning, is invaluable. I’ve already spoken to several students who are going to follow up the offers of getting experience with some of these companies, which is fantastic, as at Wilberforce we want all our students to not only achieve the highest qualifications they can, but to have the employability skills that will put them ahead of their peers.”

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