TDC were thrilled to be a part of the Brighton Digital Festival this year, offering a number of events for young people, aiming to inspire them to take up a career in tech.
We worked with some of Brighton’s most exciting digital businesses and educators to create a Tech Trail around the city, then teamed up with Propellernet, Block Builders and the British Airways i360 to offer an interactive Virtual Reality experience to five classes from primary schools in some of Brighton & Hove’s most disadvantaged areas.
Earlier this year, charitable foundation the Nominet Trust undertook research to explore the barriers preventing disadvantaged young people from gaining digital skills. A key finding was that those least likely to have digital skills are also most likely to be facing multiple forms of disadvantage and are among the hardest-to-reach in our society. Though Brighton & Hove appears an affluent city, it contains some wards in which 33% of children are growing up in poverty. Overall, 41% of Brighton’s children live in the most deprived parts of the city.
The Tech Trail led youngsters on a route around Brighton, a world-renowned digital hub – taking in a number of digital work places along the way. The idea was to inspire pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with the opportunities available to them if they choose to follow a career in tech.
Participants had the chance to step through the doors of some of the city’s most innovative companies including Propellernet, Drum, Ideal, Pragmatic, Brandwatch and Latest TV amongst many others. The young people saw first-hand what a tech workplace can look like and were able to try interactive experiences designed to increase their understanding of what these companies do. They also had the unique opportunity to talk to young employees about what it’s like to have a tech career in digital hub Brighton.
TDC’s Business Development Manager Ruth Chapman said “it was great to see so many companies engage with the idea of opening their doors so that young people could experience tech in Brighton. We hope that visiting these companies will inspire young people and help them realise the possibilities in tech as a future career”.
Then on Wednesday October 11th 140 children from Moulsecoomb Primary School, Bevendean Primary School and Hertford Infant School, were treated to a virtual reality (VR) lesson on Brighton beach and a flight aboard the British Airways i360. Using VR headsets, the children were transported on a journey across Paris, Mont Blanc, a Dutch meadow, a South East Asian desert island and finally to Rio de Janeiro. Read a bit more and see pictures of the day as featured in The Argus and watch these videos to see some of the children’s reactions.
Ruth elaborates: “I’m really proud of the impact we made with the TDC Tech Trail this year. We were kindly supported by Drum, a local tech firm, who not only sponsored the project but provided mentorship to get it off the ground. In the end we over 16 different tech companies involved and support from Brighton Metropolitan, Creative Process and Entrepreneurial Spark.
From a business development sense, aside from the relationships formed with local businesses, the TDC Tech Trail enabled us to build connections with networks across the city. We were invited to be part of the discussions about future career pathways and opportunities for young people as part of Our Future City and we built a strong relationship with Brighton Digital Festival, who championed the project and invited us to talk about it at the closing conference. A chance to get on the stage and share our story with over 200 people.”
Read more about the TDC Tech Trail.