From education to employment

Leeds students enjoy monster day out after winning zombie-inspired competition

Pupils from Leeds enjoyed a ‘dead-good’ time finding out more about the tech and digital industries in a Zombie-themed enterprise session delivered by NHS Digital and Ahead Partnership. 
The ‘OUTBreak into Digital’ initiative, ran over two days at Roundhay School and Dixons Unity Academy, engaging young people about future employment opportunities. The project aimed to raise aspirations and explore digital and tech roles in the NHS, focussing on Software Development, Data Science and User-Centred Design.
Over the course of the workshops, 60 Year 10 students were given a brief to prepare for a theoretical Zombie invasion and produce plans for an online service that could help manage information.
Students worked in teams to generate a paper prototype for a hypothetical IOS/android app or web service which could be employed to inform and reassure the public during the simulated zombie pandemic.
Employer-led sessions explored more about data science, software development, and user-design fundamentals, following which students met volunteers from related specialisms and pitched their ideas at the end of the day.
The two winning teams then enjoyed a monster day out at NHS Digital to hear first-hand about the roles and opportunities available. Participants also received a Zombie survival kit, which included top secret files, anti-venom and warning signals. 
Commenting on the scheme, Stephanie Burras CBE, Chief Executive of Ahead Partnership said: 
“Working together, Ahead Partnership and NHS Digital hope to break down barriers that may stop young people from working in tech and digital sectors and demonstrate the wealth of different roles available in the NHS. 
“Our collaboration seeks to inspire young people and provide insight into the range of technical roles required to meet sectors shortages and demand in this thriving field. One of our business volunteers was even an ex-pupil from Roundhay School, demonstrating real possibilities.
“OUTBreak into Digital is just one component of a broader programme of activity designed by Ahead Partnership and partners to impact on young people, improve diversity and accessibility, and increase the uptake of vital roles.”
Tim Roebuck, Head of the Academy at NHS Digital, commented:
“This has been a wonderfully creative way to engage students. At NHS Digital we provide a variety of opportunities for those aspiring to get into digital, from a two-year graduate scheme, placements and internships, to degree apprenticeships in Software Development and potentially Data Analysis and User Experience in the near future.
“Through this collaboration, participants gained experience of industry skills and competencies from teamwork and data literacy to computational thinking and data security – all of which are vitally important today. It’s vital that we help young people to understand the career opportunities available and in areas they may never have considered until now.”

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