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Digital agencies - here's your chance to be part of a momentous event for the digital industry

Pupils take part in BIMA D-Day 2012

Digital agencies, save this date. On 10 October we want you to take part in BIMA D-Day, an important initiative that - with your backing - can help steer the industry away from an impending talent shortage. Here BIMA executive member Andrew Henning tells us how this year's event is shaping up - and explains why your agency should be involved.

What’s the thinking behind BIMA D-Day?The event is about raising awareness of the digital industry among young people. Our research shows that very little is known in schools about the variety of careers digital offers. Yet on the flip side we are an industry struggling to recruit and face many issues that a talent gap creates.So D-Day is a fun but tangible way that agencies can help bridge this gap and encourage more people into the sector by considering university courses or apprenticeships.What does the day involve?BIMA will provide lots of resources and four digital challenges for the students to undertake on the day.For those who did it last year, we intend to keep the digital design and mobile challenges in a similar format. They were very popular and the entries last year were superb. You can find them here.The social media challenge was probably the most eye opening to how good our youngsters were in an area that, I guess, is never taught at school. This year we will retain it, but why draw a Facebook page when you can actually build one for real?The coding challenge will be altered to allow it to be undertaken on software the school already uses (Scratch, Greenfoot, Flash, JavaScript, C#, Python etc.). All we will do is set the brief. For example: create something to teach younger children their times tables. Many agencies are a bit wary of the coding challenge. However this is digital so it’s equally about good design, UI and UX. Just scripting isn’t enough. We don’t expect agencies to teach coding as the pupils have this ability already. We need you to get them thinking about problem solving, team working and making a killer app or game. What does the agency need to do?Principally it is to add that industry experience and insight. We would also ask you to speak about your agency, the roles and the work you do. Last year we were amazed at the talent of the students so you won’t need to teach! Just steer them in the right direction and help nurture those ideas and ambitions.What are the numbers looking like for this year?Good. We have over 100 agencies signed up which is already an increase on last year. However although good, we really need more agencies to help us and make this a truly momentous event. So if you’re an agency, client team or anyone professionally practising digital please sign up. We really need support across the Midlands, Manchester, South West, Scotland and Wales. In respect of schools we have currently over 60 signed up. BIMA are ramping up promotion with a 5,000 mail shot this week to increase that number. It was always our intention to get the agencies first so we can hopefully link schools as they apply. We are targeting 250 which should see around 8,000 students taking part.This year BIMA D-Day is linking with the Dadi Awards. Can you tell us more about that?Yes, very excited about this. We are running some ‘instant’ competitions to allow us to get entries and marking done that evening. For example we want members of each D-Day team to film and edit the day and publish it alongside all the other schools to create a giant video diary of the day. We can then show these at the Dadi Awards and recognise the winners on the night. We’re also judging schools for the best social media and tweets for the day! I'm an agency interested in taking part. What should I do?Simply put 10/10/13 in your diary and register via The Drum’s microsite. We'll then say hello via email and hopefully link you to a local school ASAP. Once contacts are exchanged we ask you to contact the teacher via email to break the ice. Then on the day just enjoy.

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