Having completed her day for BIMA's D Day at David Young Community Academy, Enjoy Digital's strategy director Kristal Ireland writes that she believes more events of a similar nature should take place across the UK in order to highlight the nature of the digital industry.
When we first heard about the BIMA D-Day via The Drum website we knew it was something that our agency really wanted to be involved with. Addressing the digital skills gap in the UK is something that we feel passionately about and believe it is key for agencies get involved with to champion our vibrant and exciting sector with young people.
BIMA D-Day has seen some 1,800 students and over 70 agencies across Britain take part in a series of inspirational videos, meet the industry opportunities and digital challenge setting. Enjoy Digital partnered with the David Young Academy in Leeds for the day. We brought along our friends from community digital inclusion initiative the LS14 Trust and a representative from the O2 Think Big scheme to highlight some of the funding that is available for young people wanting to access the digital industry.
Whilst it took us, and the pupils, some time to get warmed up the ideas that came out of the challenges set and the great attitude of the pupils became clear. We covered everything from mobile app development, viral videos and digital product design. What was most impressive was the level of digital skillz (I’ve been told z is the cool thing now) that some of the pupils had. One 16 year old in our group had a great understanding of HTML, CSS and could use Photoshop. He came up with a very innovative iPhone App, but what was the most impressive was how excited he was about how to market the app and importantly monitize it. A great commercial head for someone of his age!
What was concerning though, and probably echo’s the sentiment of many young people today, was that this talented young guy said he wanted to be a web designer, but that, “I probably won’t be able to though as I’ve been told it’s really competitive”. Teaching digital skills clearly only solves part of the problem when it comes to addressing the digital skills gap. Ensuring our younger generation have the inspiration and confidence to follow their dreams is a much bigger one, one that it will take more than just one day to address.
D-Day also gave us the opportunity to speak with some of the teachers and gain a better understanding of their perspective on the digital industry. Something which is often over looked by the private sector is collaborating with the front line teachers to hear about their experience. A standout quote of the day came from one of the Multimedia teachers who said, “ the students don’t understand the concept of “digital” it’s just how their lives have always been.” This should serve as an important message for the entire industry, something we must consider when designing education course content, building online experiences, technology and marketing content for the new generation of digitally native consumers.
So would we do BIMA D-Day again? Absolutely yes, do we think we need more of this kind of thing in the UK education system? Without a doubt!
You can check out what happened during BIMA D Day by looking back through The Drum's liveblog of the day.