Sunderland Software City recently hosted an event at Sunderland College to showcase the exciting and wide range of career opportunities available in the digital sector.
More than 80 pupils from local secondary schools were invited to Bede Campus as part of the Sunderland Digital Careers programme to help young people understand digital career pathways and the skills required to build successful working lives.
Leading companies such as Cosmo Digital Solutions, MAADIGITAL, Armatus Oceanic and Serious Group brought the world of work to life through a series of engaging and interactive demonstrations of the latest technology such as robotics and virtual reality.
Helping raise aspirations, the pupils were able to discuss their ambitions with employers which inspired them to consider a broader range of future education and career options when they leave school.
They were also given a glimpse of campus life with staff from the college’s Computing and IT department running taster sessions and tours of Bede’s state-of-the-art facilities including the Innovation Hub and award-winning 360-degree Immersive Space.
Neil Layfield, Computing and Digital Curriculum Manager for Sunderland College, said: “The Digital Careers event was a huge success and raised awareness of the wide range of careers and opportunities within the digital sector.
“Pupils and students were able to see first-hand how digital technology can impact them in a variety of ways, not just those who are pursuing a career in digital and IT.
“They were also able to speak to employers, get advice and guidance and also interact with technology that they would not normally be able to, allowing them to visualise what a future career may look like in the digital sector.”
Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley launched the Sunderland Digital Careers programme in January 2022. The programme is funded by Sunderland City Council and supported by Sunderland College, University of Sunderland, Together for Children and Sunderland Software City.
Challenging pre-conceived ideas, raising aspirations and encouraging pupils to think beyond their current experiences, the initiative provides employer engagement opportunities for young people including workplace site visits, industry workshops, career expos, guest talks, competitions, and more.
Liz St Louis, Assistant Director of Smart Cities at Sunderland City Council, said: “Creating more and better jobs is a core focus of our City Plan and the rapid digital transformation taking place across Sunderland is opening up a world of opportunities for young people to embrace an array of technology-driven career paths.
“Technology is having a huge impact on education, equipping teachers with the tools they need to elevate learning and aspirations, both inside and outside of the classroom.
“This forward-thinking attitude coupled with our leading smart city infrastructure is positioning Sunderland as a great place to live, learn and work, whilst supporting the attraction and retention of talent.
“The fantastic digital facilities and curriculum at Sunderland College are broadening horizons for the next generation by bringing an array of career paths to life and, importantly, within reach.”
Jessica Sawyers, Schools Outreach Coordinator at Sunderland Software City, said: “At Sunderland Software City, our goals are to nurture the talent pool and encourage students to consider careers in STEM pathways to help our tech and digital sector thrive.
“Through our recent North East Digital Skills Audit 2022, we found that 82% of students have no industry experience. Connecting students with employers whilst they are still in education can be a vital step to bridging that gap.
“Diversity is also essential. In the audit, 88% of students studying or training for a digital career identified as a man. With these sorts of events, young women can leave with the understanding that women can, and do, work in digital sectors too.
“We have found such a positive response from the students at these events, classroom visits and industry tours that we have put on this year. The future looks bright for the North East tech and digital sector.”
To find out more about the Sunderland Digital Careers programme and to get involved, visit www.sunderlandsoftwarecity.com/sunderland-smart-cities-digital-career-programme/ or contact Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org