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Insights into Digital Careers

John Spence Community High School, Digital Careers Day

Year 8 students at John Spence Community High School participated in a recent Digital Careers workshop. Split into three sessions to cater for the 170 students in total, the two-hour workshop was designed specifically to give insight into the creative, design and digital industries, with the aim of inspiring the next generation into considering a digital career.

Introductions to TICE Mentors Lee Casey (Digital Marketing) and Mark Pattinson (Graphic Design) were made, with a brief reference as to their own career experiences working within the sectors.

Following an outline of the session, Lee explained the size of the creative, design and digital industries in terms of the number of jobs and the financial value to the UK economy. Highlighting the different jobs available both now and in the future and talking about how a lot of these jobs haven’t even been created yet. As skill sets merge the sectors together and create new opportunities and job roles, students could expect to see more long-term careers being created within the newly coined ‘Createch’ sector – the entwining of creativity and technology. Augmented Reality was used as an example of an area within the sector where the number of jobs is only set to increase. Some informative and impressive statistics backed this up!

Next, it was time for the team building challenge. A hypothetical scenario, created to give the teams of six the chance to design and make a ‘glass’ sculpture, which was to be as tall as possible and freestanding, which they had to name & present back to the group. The ‘glass’ being balloons so a balloon popping simulated a ‘glass’ bauble breaking. Teams were only allowed to use the materials supplied including: 15 balloons, 4 sheets of A4 paper and a roll of tape.

Some groups excitedly launched into blowing up balloons straight away, whilst some took to brainstorming their sculpture ideas and planning a more strategic approach. Inevitably some balloons popped causing shrieks of laughter across the room and added a new competitive edge to the challenge with teams realising as the balloons popped this reduced their chances of adding height to their sculpture! They were given 20 minutes to complete the task, teams, working together to build their ‘sculptures’ to make sure they finished on time.

At the 20 minutes, ‘it’s over’ shout, a mix of sculptures were presented, some a little deflated and loosing ‘air’! Others stood tall, steady and having fulfilled all of the task criteria. Lots of laughter and excitement followed as students explained their sculptures as the popping continued all around.

This task gives students ideas on how they might change the dynamics of the team for the task ahead as it is useful to consider how they organise themselves and how they can work collectively to a deadline, as well as being a lot of fun!

In the second hour of the session led by Graphics Mentor Mark, teams were asked to identify a gap in the competitive app market, considering the use of Augmented Reality (AR). Real-life brand examples were shown as reference points including brilliant AR marketing campaigns from the likes of Nike, Coco-Cola and Pepsi. Groups worked together to brainstorm, plan, research and design their idea, discussing logos and working through the process of designing an app from concept to creation and delegating team members job roles such as AR Researcher, Designer, Project Manager and Content Creator based on their skill sets. Mark and Lee kept teams on track time-wise, and supported some of the discussions but on the whole students developed their ideas independently, confidently and demonstrated their depth of creative thinking.

The final ideas were inspiring! From apps that could aid the NHS through identifying common ailments, beauty apps allowing people to see what they looked like with different hairstyles and eyelashes through to AR apps which would allow the user to go back in time and learn about different landmarks, find their long lost relatives through DNA AR/AI searches and those which enhanced a customers retail journey with easier access to nutritional food information and tasting notes or gave accessory ideas within a clothes store.

The workshop concluded with a brief look at some of the Higher and Further Education courses currently available and gave examples of real people working within the digital industry, here in the North East. As a region, the North East is championing the growth of the creative and digital sectors in areas such as games design, AR and VR and Digital Marketing which makes entry into this sector all the more exciting for future generations.

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