From education to employment

New Digital Sector Employer Engagement Event for Sixth Form College Students

Around 200 Sixth Form College students studying IT converged on Hull University recently to find out more about careers in the Digital Sector from employers in the area.

This new conference–style event was the brain child of Ben Wallis, Vice Principal at Wilberforce Sixth Form College, and was expertly organized by Tina Jenkinson, LMI Project Manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Support from Hull University’s Schools and Colleges Liaison Service and University Student Ambassadors helped make the day go smoothly.

The morning’s activities focused on an overview of the Sector given by Tina Jenkinson whose links with many local businesses, researching Labour Market Information for East Riding Council, give her a great insider view. Eye opening presentations from both big, well-known and specialist, fast developing, local IT companies including Sauce, VISR, GCHQ and KCOM followed. Students were given time in the afternoon for valuable networking with local digital employers to hear about the wide range of careers opening up to them. Information and advice on HE opportunities and degree courses that could take them into advanced roles in this exciting industry was also available.

Tina Jenkinson explains: ‘It is really important that young people learn about the local labour market to help them understand where jobs are locally, the skills and qualifications employers are looking for in their future workforce and the growth sectors in the region. This all helps reduce local skills gaps as well as ensuring young people leave education and training with the skills and qualifications required to grow our local economy. Events like this provide a great experience for young people hear directly from employers about developments and opportunities in the sector.

Sixth Form College students from as far away as Scarborough traveled to participate in this innovative event and Wilberforce College gave all their Level 3 IT students the opportunity to engage with employers in this valuable way.

Ben Wallis comments: ‘We believe it’s essential that educators and businesses work together to invest in employees of the future and help our students make a smooth transition into the world of work. Wilberforce is pleased to work with over 500 employers annually as we understand how important this is for the region’s future economy and essential in building a fully functioning Northern Powerhouse.’

John Harrison Hull University’s Joint Head of Careers, Entrepreneurship & Study Abroad, who presented a view of what the world of work might look like in 2050 at the event says:

 ‘We always welcome any opportunity to engage with our partners.  It is essential we continue to provide opportunities for young people to engage with local employers and to access advice and guidance to enable them to make informed decisions about their future.  The digital and technology sector within the region is thriving and the event provided a unique platform to enable young people to understand this in more detail and recognise the wealth of opportunity they have; whilst also considering their routes into the industry.  We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to facilitate and develop these platforms further for the benefit of the region’s young people and local economy.’

 Participating students agreed it had been both a useful and enjoyable event, student Theo commented:

“It was good to hear about all of the opportunities available in the digital sector. The information was very informative and I loved talking to the employers in the marketplace.”

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