BIMA D-Day UK Digital Transformation

BIMA D-Day: Why your digital agency should get involved this year

By Andrew Henning |

May 7, 2013 | 5 min read

BIMA D-Day is an annual initiative that promotes digital careers to thousands of young people across the UK. Andrew Henning, chair of BIMA's education committee, explains what it could do for your agency and why you need to get involved.

Andrew Henning

I was in discussion last week with a colleague who was praising BIMA D-Day and the enjoyment that the day last October had brought. It reminded me that although we obviously want everyone to have fun, there is a strong underlying reason for the event. In addition as an agency owner, I feel its focus is actually weighted towards the industry and not as generally thought for the sole benefit of the young people.

For those reading this that may not be aware of what BIMA D-Day is, I’ll quickly recap. It’s an annual event that links digital professionals with schools and colleges for a day. Agencies send their designers, account managers, developers or directors (whoever really) into a classroom to make the students aware of digital careers, do some challenges and basically tell them about our industry. We’re also supported by freelancers and in 2012 we had 70 schools and 1,800 students participating but we want it bigger this year. The date for the diary is October 10th 2013.

So how does it help the industry? Well I haven’t spoken to an agency owner in the last five years that hasn’t recruitment issues. The merry-go-round of staff across agencies is a familiar story with the consequences of inflated salaries and inability to plan sensibly for growth. Include the increasing client side digital teams and it has been known for a long time that we just don’t have enough quality people to satisfy the demand.

The actual figures and scale of the problem is something that BIMA is investigating currently. Present government rhetoric is that the creative sector is one of the UK’s key vehicles to generate jobs and growth. How is this going to happen if we just don’t have the people coming through? I question, of the publicised vacancies created by the likes of Silicon Roundabout, how many are new and not pulling potential staff away from other firms?

In the regions it is the same. There is a lack of people to employ with current skills or even an understanding of what is required?

So BIMA D-Day is about awareness to real job vacancies! Our research from last year discovered a real lack of knowledge about our industry. In some schools the students knew nothing about digital. As you sit in your agency you may as well be on the moon to most 14 – 18 year olds!

However young people by their age are digital natives. They use the stuff more than anyone and hence should have a stronger vested interest in its creation and development. Last year the agencies reported back their amazement and surprise to the talent, ideas and enthusiasm shown. What is missing is the connection to jobs and career planning.

Curriculum doesn’t help as digital doesn’t have a true home. Spread across ICT, Art & Design, Design & Technology and even Business Studies it is taught in bits amongst other modules.

So the key aim of BIMA D-Day is to get youngsters interested in OUR digital careers early on, hopefully influencing their further education decisions or increasing demand for digital apprenticeships. Working with school aged students BIMA feels we have found a niche. We get great collaboration from teachers many of whom feel restricted by the syllabus and opportunities. They really appreciate the professionals sparing their time to help them deliver insight to their pupils.

So anyone who recognises the issues above, please support BIMA DDay by offering yourself or members of staff for October 10th. We want any digital professionals, agencies, client teams etc. You can sign up on the BIMA D-Day site.

The more impact we have the greater benefit to the industry as well as greater influence and campaigning to government. Oh yes and the kids have a great day and discover for the first time jobs where jeans, Facebook and smart phones are mandatory!

Along with his role at BIMA, Andrew Henning is CEO of Redweb

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