From education to employment

Barnsley College has launched an initiative to improve digital skills in Barnsley and the wider community

Discover Digital with @BarnsleyCollege 

Discover Digital is a programme of events aimed at supporting Barnsley College students and staff, local schools, the education sector and the public to develop their use of digital technology.

The programme is being run in partnership with Jisc and sponsored by Prodigy Learning, and will include educational masterclasses with industry professionals focused on areas of the digital sector in which skills shortages have been identified.

The inaugural event, Women in Tech, began with a keynote speech from Claire Riley, Education Engagement Manager at Microsoft. Claire’s speech was followed by a range of industry leaders from major international technology companies discussing how they got involved in technology.

Rachel James, Director of Teaching and Learning at Barnsley College, said: “We are extremely proud to be presenting Discover Digital, which is part of our commitment to promoting and facilitating digital innovation to our staff, students, and the wider community. By leading with the Women in Tech event, we ensured digital equality and opportunity is at the heart of our digital journey. 

“We are thrilled to be joined by so much talent in the digital sector who are supporting Discover Digital and are delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to Barnsley College students and staff, the local community and the wider education sector.”

Each speaker talked about roles and careers within the digital technologies sector and highlighted potential barriers each may have had to overcome as women working in the industry.

Natasha Barry, Regional Account Manager at Jisc, was one of the guest speakers. She added: “Being able to work with and support Barnsley College with their Discover Digital event, Women in Tech, has been interesting and inspiring. Being able to support an event that focuses on trying to encourage women of all ages to embark on a career in technology in some form or other has been a fantastic opportunity from both a Jisc perspective and a personal stand point.

“Even today women are underrepresented in technology roles and, whilst this has received a lot of attention in the media over recent years, it is something that still needs to be highlighted. I applaud Barnsley College and the team for embracing this and running an event that allowed women’s voices to be heard in such a positive environment.”

The other speakers at the Women in Tech event were:

  • Karen Anderson, Learning Gain Manager at Barnsley College
  • Cassandra Baxendale, Events and Campaigns Officer at Abardo
  • Dina Ghosbashy, Senior Manager at Microsoft Education Leadership (Worldwide)
  • Sarah Gullick, Implementation Specialist at Collabco
  • Rachel Jones, Director of IT at Birmingham Metropolitan College
  • Olivia Rennison, STEM ambassador and former Barnsley College student
  • Alisha Shepherd, Barnsley College Apprentice
  • Rebecca Sinnatt, UK and Ireland Product Lead at Fujitsu
  • Sarah Snowdon, Digital Skills Specialist at Prodigy Learning

The next Discover Digital event will take place on Tuesday 15 June, 1.00pm-3.00pm and will focus on Eco Tech.

After the Eco Tech event, future Discover Digital events will take place up to April 2022 covering Digital Inclusion, Tech Skills, Digital Careers and Tech Expert.

Participants will also have the opportunity to compete in a national challenge judged by Barnsley College, JISC and a guest judge per event. These challenges will encompass further learning opportunities through a blended learning package. Opportunities for further development will be available through formal Microsoft qualifications provided by Prodigy Learning.

Discover Digital is part of Barnsley College’s investment in its digital offer and follows on from the College becoming a Microsoft Showcase College  and the investment in our SciTech Digital Innovation Hub. 

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