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Digital Tech: Encouraging the Younger Generation

As the world of digital continues to advance rapidly, it’s important we encourage the next generation to get involved. Younger people not only require a certain level of education in terms of what this industry has to offer, they are entitled to it. Today’s blog investigates the Digital Skills Gap, education and a fantastic young person who came to Inner City Digital for some work experience.

Back in May 2019, BBC News issued a report on how computing in schools is experiencing a deep decline. The question MUST be posed as to why this is happening.

Let’s take a look at some stats:

Each year, the University of Roehampton carries out a study. The most recent findings indicate a drop in computer qualifications gained by 16 year old’s. Adding insult to injury the study also highlights a drop in hours spent teaching the subject across UK schools. This revelation appears quite bizarre given the rapid sector growth. It’s suggested that poorer students and in particular, females, will become ‘disenfranchised’ from a digital education over the coming years. With just 19% of the current UK’s digital population, women, this number could drop further given the above statement.

Some additional stats:

According to the Tech Nation Report of 2019, in the North East alone there are 30,000 people employed in digital tech across 2,905 digital companies. This accounts for £1.26 billion in turnover. That’s quite an addition to our local economy and one we hope to rise year on year.

So why are schools spending less hours on computing?

There’s most certainly some disparity between the education system and the digital tech industry. It’s clear schools, colleges and even universities don’t have a clearly defined grasp on the industry, the potential career paths and how quickly things are moving. This isn’t their fault of course as teaching is carried out through a pre-prepared syllabus. Whilst this works for many subjects, it doesn’t for digital. The system desperately requires a re-visit and perhaps even a change in the way digital tech subjects are taught.

Getting Involved

At Inner City Digital we are passionate not only about the digital industry but about Teesside. We believe it’s important to educate the younger generations about what digital could mean for them. Over the last three years we have spent time in schools, colleges and universities, volunteering our time at a myriad of events. We’ve enjoyed focus groups and discussing social media and web design roles. We’ve conducted practice interviews for budding content writers and lead highly interactive marketing workshops whilst teaching children valuable promotional skills. There’s no better feeling than seeing a group of children come to life whilst working together when tasked to create a brand new chocolate bar to later sell to the room! 

Let’s look at Teesside;

Back in June of this year, Teesside Live reported on the availability of 7,194 digital tech jobs in this area alone. Roles include Web Designers, Web Developers, SEO Specialists, PPC Experts, Digital Marketing Assistants, Social Media Managers, Digital Telesales Executives, Graphic Designers, Content Writers and much more. Teesside is thriving. The digital tech industry is thriving and it’s a very exciting prospect. We do however need to ensure there are enough people to fill such roles.

Bring your Daughter to Work Day!

My eldest daughter, Billie-Mae left school in June of this year. A week after leaving she had an interview lined up with a local charity, MAIN. I’m thrilled to say she was offered the position and has been working there for a few weeks now. The job fits in perfectly with her chosen college course of Health and Social Care Level 3. However, Billie-Mae did not waste the time in-between and asked if she could come to work at Inner City Digital for a couple of weeks to experience the digital sector. Of course I agreed.

How did it go?

It’s difficult when you’re a small business to ensure you have the time to train people correctly. Both myself and my business partner believe it’s essential to put the time and effort into people as this allows for both personal and business progression. We knew Billie-Mae was merely coming along for a couple of weeks experience so this meant web design was out of the question. Writing content however is something she could dive straight into and we knew this because of her love of English at secondary school. Billie-Mae got stuck into both writing fresh new content for a whole range of websites and editing existing work. She understood how to effectively research subjects online and asked insightful questions.

But did she enjoy it?

Billie-Mae worked hard from the moment she walked in the door until leaving at 5pm. She conversed extremely well with clients who visited and enjoyed writing on a number of subjects. By the time her final day approached Billie-Mae had a basic grasp on writing for SEO and was able to understand how semantic content enhances the website users experience.

Our thoughts?

We wanted her to stay! The dedication and aptitude she showed for the role meant we saw real potential in her. Unfortunately, a job within the digital sector simply isn’t for her, but that’s OK. The point is she tried it and the great news is she LOVED the business side of things.

What did this experience teach us?

Allowing a young person to step into our business for a couple of weeks gave us the opportunity to offer education on the various services we offer. In turn this gave Billie-Mae an insight into a variation of digital related skills and the potential opportunities available to her should she ever wish to digress. We’re now left thinking about the many other young people out there with potential for digital.

Is this type of opportunity something we could all offer as digital companies? 

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Helen Kerr

Helen writes on subjects such as SEO, PPC, Social Media, Web Design and Digital Marketing as a whole. Her 13 years of industry experience means her content is of the highest quality and reputable.

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