Llanishen High School: Technology Assemblies.

Inspiretec join initiative to educate and inform pupils that anyone can work in the tech industry.

By Sarah Moore24th February 2020

An idea for sector collaboration.

Technology can be empowering to children and young people. It can allow them to express creativity, stay connected to others and could lead to a successful career in an ever-increasingly important part of our economy.

Llanishen High School wanted to put together an interactive day to show their pupils how relevant and attractive tech can be to try and address the decline in students opting to include tech subjects as part of their career path.

As part of their strategy to address this, in 2018 Llanishen High School became a Google for Education school and committed to a Digital Competence Framework to help pupils learn digital skills for future workplaces.

Alongside other Welsh tech leaders like DevOps Group, Amplyfi,  and doopoll, Inspiretec were approached by Llanishen’s headteacher to provide some real world inspiration on how exciting and diverse technology can be.

Welsh curriculum in need of an update.

In 2014 the Welsh Government asked Professor Graham Donaldson to review the IT, computing and digital skills curriculum in Wales.

The report suggested that there be ‘six areas of learning and experience’ that will contribute to the four purposes of the new curriculum that are: ethical informed citizens, ambitious capable learners, enterprising creative contributors and healthy conscious individuals.

The report illustrated that digital skills are far more an important part of the educational mix than just ‘IT’ – he highlighted that it cuts across, Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Humanities, Language, literacy and communication, Mathematics and numeracy and Science and Technology.

On the back of Professor Donaldson’s report, a new curriculum will be introduced in 2021 to try and better prepare students for the accelerating changes happening in technology, society and the world of work.

The day.

Our Talent Acquisition Manager, Hannah Worthing and Danny Powell, our Head of Development took part delivering presentations to each year group in the school to try and dispel the myths that surround working in the tech industry. The focus for the day was to provide a tailored toolkit of advice, ideas and inspiration to help students understand what a career in tech could mean for them.

For the first time ever in a school assembly the pupils were allowed to use their phones to take part in a live interactive poll.

The poll asked the pupils a variety of questions before and after the presentations to gauge if opinion had changed once the pupils had heard what visiting speakers shared – the before and after results were interesting (graphs courtesy of doopoll):

We also spent time with the teachers to understand challenges they face within the current curriculum and tools at their disposal. It was amazing to see that they were unanimously excited about the prospect of a teacher led curriculum and they saw how it’ll give them the ability to implement innovative and exciting learning experiences for their pupils.

Giving something back.

We’re committed to promoting and nurturing tech talent in Wales as an employer. For several years, in partnership with local Universities, we have run a successful graduate programme resulting in careers for dozens of new graduates. Last year we extended this further by taking on our first Apprentice – giving school leavers with an alternative route to employment than via the more traditional ‘Further’ or ‘Higher’ Education.

According to research undertaken by PWC, 15% of people working in STEM roles in the UK are female and only 5% of leadership positions in the technology sector are held by women. We’re very proud to say that 33% of the team are female, but to redress this balance in Wales, it’s clear that a shift is needed in grass roots education.

By showing school pupils of all genders and backgrounds that a career in technology could actually be for them we hope to have helped open up a new tech pathway that they would potentially have missed as it is all too often clouded by misconceptions and assumptions.

To round up.

This day allowed us to facilitate being a small part of a much bigger change in Welsh schools. It was really humbling to be able to do something on a hyper local level and we're excited at continuing the dialogue with pupils, partners and teachers.

Danny Powell, Head of Development commented: ''It was a really enjoyable day. I was really impressed by the children and how they engaged with the sessions. The staff that we met and discussed curriculum changes with are really inspiring for their commitment and passion. It's exciting to see where we go from here to work out how best the tech industry can work to support the schools and teachers to nurture the talent of the future.''

Hannah Worthing, Talent Acquisition Manager added: ''We have a responsibility to inspire the talent of the future and what better an opportunity than to join forces with other like-minded Cardiff-based tech companies, to deliver fun, interactive sessions for all year groups at one of our local high schools! They left knowing that the opportunities and possibilities open to them are far more diverse than they could have imagined and they were clear on how they might go about exploring these options further.''

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