31 October 2016

I often blog about inspiring the next generation of Britain’s tech talent and I believe that it is very much the responsibility of the business community to be a source of inspiration.

digital kids show UKFast

Our team at the Digital Kids Show in Manchester at the weekend.

This week, the UKFast team excelled themselves in doing just that. I was delighted to hear not just about one event, but a whole weekend of meeting young people and introducing them to technology.

On Friday, as the bulk of the team dressed up to celebrate Halloween and raise money for Forever Manchester’s Caketober event, a few of the team joined Clicky Media to run the OMG Girls in Tech event.

More than 100 young women – students aged 18 and above – came over to UKFast Campus to hear all about careers in tech, to complete workshops to help them along that journey and to meet people in the industry. Meeting people can be just as important as picking up the skills needed for the industry – how often do we hear: ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who’?

Our Director of People Development, Arlene, took to the stage to welcome the young women to UKFast and to set the tone for the day. There was also a keynote by Stobart Group’s Kate Willard, and a panel discussion hosted by Arlene.

What stood out for me, however, were the workshops. Breakout groups tackled different areas of beginning a career in tech – including confidence building. Confidence is a funny thing, isn’t it? These events are important for building confidence to network, to join groups and to create a path into an industry.

UKFast at the Digital Kids Show

THe UKFast stand was constantyl full of children wanting to try out the Raspberry Pi set up.

Alongside this, our comms team held a session about building personal brands and being aware of how your social media activity can change people’s – and employers’ – perceptions of you as a person.

Kirsty, one of our tech engineers, led an introduction to Linux and had some extraordinary feedback from women who were playing with Linux in their spare time but hadn’t realised that there were careers for these skills! Saffron and Fay from our Dreams team led workshops on building your CV and interview techniques to help you through the recruitment process too.

I am incredibly proud of the team for pushing themselves out of their comfort zones to lead these workshops to pitch in with the event with one of our friends, Clicky Media.

On top of this, our Director of Training Aaron and a team of our apprentices gave up their Saturday and Sunday to represent UKFast at the Digital Kids Show – the biggest of its kind in the UK with more than 6000 attendees.

Here the apprentices led workshops with Raspberry Pis to show the kids what they could achieve tinkering with a bit of technology. There were children as young as five building games and parents who were just as engaged!

Our 18-20 year old apprentices are exactly the people who these young people look up to. Young adults carving a career in technology and sharing their skills to inspire others – how fantastic is that?

I am so incredibly proud of the team and all that they are doing to inspire future generations of technology superstars. As ever, if you want to join one of our events or half term Code Clubs, please get in touch.

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