From education to employment

FE students work with designers and police officers to find creative solutions to difficult issues

Over 50 young people from schools and colleges across London have taken part in an innovative digital design project, working with the police, professional designers, businesses, and government representatives.

The one-day event was the second of its kind to have taken place, devised by Digital Skills Consulting and working with design experts, Experience Haus. Students were tasked to come up with digital solutions
around issues that affect them, such as ‘Stop and Search’, working alongside officers from the Met and City of London Police.

Taking place at a state of the art office of a leading Tech company in Shoreditch, the event successfully brought young people and the police together once again, to gain invaluable insight into one another’s lives and the challenges being faced.

Supported by professional designers and mentors from both the public & private sectors, the 15-19-year-olds developed a range of ideas including apps and websites. At the end of the day, they presented their
prototypes to the rest of the group. These designs will now be taken forward to the next stage of the project, towards the build and launch of an innovative new service to support communities across London.

Project Director Julia Von Klonowski of Digital Skills Consulting led the project, together with Experience Haus’ Amit Patel and Rosie Pritchard. Julia said:

“This was another fantastic day, and the young people were amazing. They were engaged, curious and resourceful and, working alongside the designers and the police officers, they came up with some ‘gold nuggets’ in terms of ideas to incorporate into a digital solution, website, or app.

“These students represent the future of our communities, as well as the health of our country. Through this event, they have learned that their voices are important – and have developed skills that they will use in their careers and their lives. “Going forward, the development of these solutions will help improve
some of the negative perceptions of police by young people, but also improve perceptions of the young people by the police.”

The students came from: Barking & Dagenham College, Sir George Monoux College, City of London Academy Islington, Activate Learning, City Academy Southwark, Vallance Community Sports Association Ltd. and the City Academy, Hackney. The police officers joined working groups of students and were
acknowledged by all the young people as being “honest, open and transparent”.

City of London Police (COLP) has been instrumental in commissioning these events, in a unique joint venture with the Met Police (MPS). Chief Superintendent Bill Duffy of the COLP said:

“This event has been brilliant. It has meant we can engage with the youth of London and improve our service to them. All the partners want to see change and we want to understand what we can do to make this happen.

“Young people have great minds and are happy to challenge the way we think and our processes. This is what we need. Having people of all different ages, from all different backgrounds is a really interesting prospect in terms of what we could deliver.

“A joint partnership approach is really important; If we all pull together we can help combat issues young people face and build trust in policing.”

Superintendent Lucky Singh of the Metropolitan Police Service said:

“We know that consultation and communication with our communities is really important, particularly engaging with young people and listening to them.

“We are committed to community policing and getting back into the heart of it. We need to build trust and confidence with the public to effectively support our communities.

“It is important to reach out and actively listen. I’m really proud of how we have brought together such a wide demographic of young people from across London to this event, full representing the diversity of our

Amit Patel, Creative Director of Experience Haus said:

“Giving the young people of today a voice in societal changes is so important in helping us to change the way our lives will be lived moving forward.

“Giving them that voice through design, and providing them inspiration from designers who work every day on creative problem solving, helps make this happen. I firmly believe that everyone involved in this day has left understanding the power of co-creation.”

For more information about Digital Skills Consulting, visit here

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