Business Studies, Graphic and Digital students from Matthew Boulton College (part of BMet) in Birmingham, were given a unique opportunity to participate in a ‘Business Hackathon’ event at Mailbox headquartered software and services company, Advanced, last week. The 24 students from the college joined members of Advanced’s Leadership team to tackle real-life business challenges faced by both Advanced and their customers.
Working with an assigned business coach from Advanced, the students were split into four groups and worked together to develop a solution that ‘hacked’ challenges such as ‘How life will change in the Metaverse?’ and ‘How businesses can take a sustainable approach to their organisations?’ to ‘Should businesses trade and pay their people in Cryptocurrency?’
The winning team, ‘CleverBots’, focused on the theme of sustainability and were recognised for their exploration of the topic, consideration of the global business landscape, and compelling arguments around the social and business benefits of leading with a more sustainable approach.
Hosting the event at Advanced’s headquarters in The Mailbox, Gordon Wilson, CEO, Advanced commented:
“At Advanced we actively champion young talent and this was a great opportunity to help young people in our West Midlands community gain valuable business knowledge whilst also meeting members of our team and entrepreneurs that they otherwise wouldn’t get access to.”
“The students really stepped up to the challenge and showed great enthusiasm, creative thinking and courage presenting their ideas in front of a group of entrepreneurs and business people. We hope this experience will help them develop the confidence and determination required for their future careers.”
Jan Myatt, Vice Principal at BMet’s Matthew Boulton College said:
“Working with Advanced has been a fantastic opportunity. Experiences like this don’t come along very often, so we see it as a real privilege for our students to be part of this unique Hackathon. This rewarding event, helped our students use and develop a variety of career focused skills including critical thinking, presentation and networking – that will be invaluable for their futures.”
As well as being welcomed by Advanced’s CEO, Gordon Wilson who shared experiences and insights from his own career, the students were also invited to listen to a keynote from West Midlands own entrepreneur, Fiona Hudson-Kelly, who has created, grown and sold three technology companies and was able to share her experiences with the group.
Commenting on their achievements at the end of the day, the BMet students said:
Elliott: “Today’s workshop has been a fantastic experience. It was a great opportunity to allow young people such as myself to show off their talents, and connect with employers. It also came with an insightful session with the CEO, who provided some great advice for the future. I’d just like to thank Advanced for this opportunity and allowing me to improve my teamwork and presentation skills.”
Charde: “Today’s session was such an amazing experience. I think that the opportunity to attend this workshop should be available for many students interested in technology and it’s really helped me to develop my communication and presentation skills.”
Kimone: “In today’s society career workshops are important because we, as the younger generation, are constantly scolded for not having enough experience and these workshops give us all an opportunity to surprise ourselves with the skills we have learnt or will learn.”
Ally: “The skills that we developed and demonstrated in today’s workshop will help me in the career I want to do later on in life. It also will help me with college presentations too when I do group activities and it enabled me to have more courage to talk in front of people.”
Advanced operates its own unique non-biased recruitment process, which is based on aptitude, not academic achievements, and potential not previous experience. It’s High Performance Entry Level (HPEL) careers programme has welcomed 479 HPELs over the last 12 months, 40% of whom have been recruited to its Birmingham office.
Since Advanced opened its office in The Mailbox, Birmingham in 2017, its team has grown by 51% to 501 and 31% of its headcount growth across the entire company has been in Birmingham.