From education to employment

Digital Agency Creates Work Experience Opportunities

Leeds based Digital Agency Parallax, have been providing educational visits into schools, most recently having given a talk at a workshop for Leeds City College, providing helpful advice on the digital industry. With a previous history in running apprenticeship-based schemes running from 2013-2016, Parallax has been focusing its efforts on educating young people in developing their skills in Digital.

Having already provided 22 young students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge on all things digital since 2017, the management of internships moved from Director, Andy Fitch to Katie Miles/Jamie Sefton. Parallax believes providing young people opportunities is important for both business growth and young people’s personal development.

“Throughout the years we have run work experience opportunities for students from schools and colleges. Placements have catered for students as young as 14 years old, coming into Parallax for 1-2 weeks to see what it’s like to work in a Leeds Digital Agency. It is great to see so many schools have started to teach code as part of their courses. They are mainly focusing on Python, which gives students a headstart in understanding the core fundamentals of programming”, commented Head of Back-End Development, Jamie Sefton.

Leeds Digital Opportunities

Recent news has reported Leeds as a city aiming to become a solid foundation for business growth. With the digital sector seeing small levels of growth in Yorkshire & The Humber, this is positive news for the future of young people.

Leeds is becoming known as a city where there are readily available opportunities for apprentices looking for work and as the technological world continues to develop, so should the skills behind young people entering the industry. With an estimated figure of up to 3,000 digital agencies, with a headcount of 2+ in work in Yorkshire alone, there are lots of opportunities and reasons as to why Leeds 64.6 billion economy is booming.

“We allow each student to explore and expand their capabilities and we provide students with the latest technology having the chance to work and grow alongside our talented team of developers, designers and marketers. We recently had students enquire about our work experience placements straight after our workshop. One has already organised his placement with us in July. Our workshop had given them a better insight into how a digital agency operates and gave them a better idea of potential routes they can go down to get into the digital industry”, commented Office Manager, Katie Miles.

Digital Awareness

The steady development of Leeds’ digital industry is arguably one of the greatest reasons for Leeds performing well as a city as a whole. Leeds Digital Festival is currently running and is the largest festival for local talent and businesses to attend in the North of England, with 150 events programmed in.

The festival runs from April 16-27th and represents the collaborative efforts made within the industry. As Leeds aims to become a mainstream city known for its efforts in the digital sector, continued awareness for young people with such events is a big positive.  

“Feeding students information on festivals and digital events in the area is important in keeping them in the know. As a company, we aim to make sure every student leaves having learned something new. We achieve this by tailoring their work experience to their current skill level and allow them to use the time to learn something they are interested in. As part of the work experience, we encourage students to work on developing their own website and become digitally aware, which in turn will help them to develop an online portfolio / CV that they can show to future employers. These are things we love to see when people apply for positions at Parallax.”

Future Talent

As more young people in education debate the cost implications of studying at university, businesses have an opportunity to invest in future talent and Leeds is doing just that. As the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) reported, the creative sector in the UK is developing at a rate of four times faster than the United Kingdom’s entire workforce. 

Perhaps this large growth is down to more young people exploring a career in the digital sector;  investing in young, future talent could be a brilliant avenue for both local businesses and young people alike.  

Parallax, amongst several others, is an example of a smaller digital agency that recognises young talent for the future, having previously employed a number of previous candidates under the age of 19 for development, design & UX roles. Complicated and data-heavy, developers are becoming a hot attraction for local businesses looking to expand their digital presence.

Sam Beevors, a current employee at Parallax, was initially taken on as an apprentice, now working full-time.

“I’d always been keen to learn about web development, and for me, there was no better way of doing this than diving head first into the industry. With somewhat minimal knowledge and no real experience, Parallax took me on as an apprentice. They quickly taught me the ins and outs of web development in a fast-moving, highly competitive industry. After the success of my year-long apprenticeship, Parallax offered me a full-time role, and the rapid on-the-job learning has been happening ever since.”

A Taste of Digital for Your Future

Apprentices can develop through learning based options ranging from weekly placements, or as Parallax often host, ‘Hack days’. A hack day gives Parallax the opportunity to invest in ideas and develop digital processes. If a young person happens to be on work experience during a hack day, they’ll be exposed to a range of creative experiences, and given the opportunity to fully participate. Previous hack day projects included the award-winning Topple Trump, a game developed and hosted inline with United States presidential election campaign.

Leeds hosts several digital-based events that young people can attend, including the ever-popular Leeds Soup and the Leeds chapter of Glug Events. Leeds Soup gives both young and old people an opportunity to get together to explore a range of pitched ideas, whilst eating soup and voting for a project they believe best suits and benefits the community in Leeds. Whilst Glug Leeds is a fine example of a company who champion creative ideas and perspectives from within the city.  

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