Teacher Adrian King from Macmillan Academy with Calm Digital's Bianca Robinson and pupils
Sarah Morrison

Member Article

D-Day for Tech Savvy Pupils at Middlesbrough Academy Thanks to Calm Digital

4,000 school children from 100 schools across the UK took part in BIMA Digital-Day (or D-Day for short), an initiative created by BIMA (the British Interactive Media Association) to introduce school-age children to the possibility of embarking on a career in digital.

BIMA D-Day was supported by 100 leading digital agencies including Middlesbrough-based Calm Digital. Agency mentor Bianca Robinson give pupils at Macmillian Academy a presentation offering insight into life in the industry, before using a specially created resource (including videos from BIMA) to take them through one of a series of challenges from digital design, mobile apps, social media and web development.

The children taking part were encouraged to use creative decision-making and project management skills to contribute to the success of the task.

This year’s BIMA D-Day follows an O2-commissioned report released earlier this month which indicated that Britain needs to create and fill 750,000 new digital jobs to keep pace with the global digital economy. With one fifth of these jobs ideally suited to the new generation of computer-savvy school children and Government initiatives designed to accelerate digital economic output to worth £7 billion per year by 2017, there is a real need for the industry to inspire school-age children to embrace a potential career in digital.

The very best projects created on D-Day have been submitted to a specially created award panel, with the winner in each category carrying off a BIMA D-Day Award. The overall winner will be selected to receive the Grand Prix which last year went to a team from Dr Challoner’s Grammar School (Bucks) for its Yappy Dog idea, an app and website designed to help dog owners plan walks based on the weight, breed and age of the family pet.

Andrew Henning, CEO at Redweb and D-Day initiative leader said: “The UK digital industry has achieved major stature both in terms of talent and the contribution that it makes to the UK balance sheet. But we can’t afford to be complacent. Whilst the Government has identified digital as a key growth area, we need to ensure that the next generation is aware of the opportunities that exist.

Building on the success of last year, when we had over 1,800 children finding out about digital, this year’s BIMA D-Day put a big window on agency life and to inspire kids to focus on one of the most interesting and rewarding sectors that the UK has to offer.“

Bianca Robinson from Calm Digital said: “It’s great to be supporting such a brilliant initiative. The UK industry, both nationally and regionally needs to inspire the next generation of school children to consider digital as one of the most dynamic and rewarding career paths that they can take.

“The pupils at Macmillan Academy embraced the digital challenges from BIMA and created some innovative concepts and ideas. “

Adrian King from Macmillian Academy said: “This is the second year we have participated in the BIMA D-Day event and we have been privileged both years to work with Bianca from Calm Digital. The involvement of an industry expert is the one key ingredient to making the day so special for the students. I was really pleased with the quality of the products produced, but I was equally impressed with the students excellent collaboration on the day.”

The digital economy is a key driver for growth in the UK. Despite this there is a lack of information and understanding about career opportunities within the digital sector. As an industry that is finding it increasing difficult to recruit, BIMA believes it needs to raise awareness to not only bridge the current skills gap but to ensure the country has a rich source of digital talent coming through.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sarah Morrison .

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