From education to employment

Students shine in digital solutions competition

         Students from four digital Career Colleges (@CareerCollegesT) across the UK, including Barking & Dagenham College (@BarkingCollege) put their creative and presentation skills to the test last week – at the virtual final of a project sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS) @AWS_UKI, and supported by The Prince’s Trust (@PrincesTrust), @Barnardos, @HSBC and the @BBC.

The 80 16-18-year-old students were set a twelve-week challenge to create and develop a digital solution to help with the mental and physical effects of Covid-19 on their own age group.

An annual event in its fifth year, the Career Colleges’ digital project usually culminates in a face-to-face event at AWS’ Shoreditch offices in front of a judging panel. This year it had had to take place via a virtual link, with students joining from each of their colleges – which included Birmingham Metropolitan (BMet), Barking & Dagenham College, Coleg Gwent and USP.

Each group presented its ideas and solution to the judges. Awards were given for Best Presentation, Best Run Project, Best Reflection, Best Solution and Best Overall Project as well as special awards for the Career College student of the year.

Julia Von Klonowski, Digital Director at the Career Colleges Trust and architect of the AWS Project, said:

“As ever, the students blew myself and the other judges away with the high quality of their projects.  This has been such a tough 18 months for so many young people and remaining focused on their education, particularly with so much virtual learning, has not been easy.

“However, we have seen remarkable commitment, courage and determination throughout.  Of course, it is a shame that we couldn’t bring everyone together in London in the usual way, but the power of technology has certainly enabled us to celebrate and reward the students’ hard work and resilience.

“I am so grateful to our wonderful judges for their continued support for Career Colleges – their involvement ensures that students get a genuine experience of running a real-life industry project.

“The skills they have acquired in this process will stand them in excellent stead for the next steps in their education and career journey.”

The standard was very high all round; a team from Barking & Dagenham College was presented with Best Run Project. A prize for Best Reflection was presented to IT student Joel Walpole from Barking & Dagenham College.

Keytrin Gyumova, Games Art & Animation student at Barking & Dagenham College was awarded Career College Student of the Year award.

The project task had to be managed and run in the same way as any other ‘real’ industry project. Each team appointed a Project Manager and students had two project meetings and several workshops with the client, focusing on issues, design, digital marketing, networking, finance and project planning. 

During the virtual event, students also heard from a range of speakers – including representatives from HSBC, BBC, Barnardos and LumberYard – about career opportunities within these different industries. Degree apprentices currently working at AWS spoke to the Career College students about their own experiences, highlighting the benefits of taking this hands-on training route.


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