Version 1 Partners with Harrow College and Uxbridge College
Version 1, alongside Harrow College and Uxbridge College (HCUC), worked together on a programme to provide the next generation of digital experts with the industry-level understanding they need for a bright future in technology.
Version 1's three-pronged approach included the development of an Insights Programme, on-site work experience for students and an advisory position on the Employer Board of Harrow College and Uxbridge College.
Covid-19 has heavily impacted the younger generation’s employment prospects, and Version 1 wanted to tackle this issue. Our main company CSR initiative, Community First, has a timely theme for 2021: ‘No One Left Behind’, aimed at leveraging our people’s IT skills and knowledge to enhance youth employability in our communities. In collaboration with Harrow College and Uxbridge College (HCUC), this led to the creation of the Version 1 Insights Programme, where we work with 16 to 24-year-olds to deliver Social Value to the communities in which we work. With the existing infrastructure of our organisation paired with remote learning set-up already in place at Harrow College and Uxbridge College to facilitate the ongoing development of their students, the Insights Programme was a perfect pilot to explore new methodologies.
The Programme focused on 3 key areas impacting new joiners to the workforce:
- Employability: Preparing students for interviews, applications, and understanding their strengths.
- Technology Industry: Providing insights on consultancy projects, roles within technology, technology product insights, industry insights and discussion areas of innovation.
- Workplace Insights: Preparing students for the world of work, ‘Day in the Life’ examples, working as part of a team, time management and how to have an impact.
21 speakers from across our organisation took the time to share their experiences working in technology, creating and delivering engaging content remotely. It was fantastic to meet the students online and to learn more about the challenges they are facing when making career decisions that will affect their futures.
Insights Programme Feedback:
"My colleague Lokesh and I went through an introduction to Software Development with the students. It was fantastic to meet the students online and give a flavour of what a career in software could look like. There were some great questions from the class throughout and I hope they enjoyed the session!"
"Taina Gomes and I presented a module on Effective Collaboration that focused on the skills needed to collaborate successfully in the workplace as well as in our everyday lives. The students’ participation and engagement was fantastic! I hope they enjoyed this module as well as the many other modules covered in the programme."
"I ran a session on Transferable Skills with the students to help them see how any experience they have in their personal, academic or work lives is an opportunity to build skills they can reuse in the future to make themselves more adaptable and employable. On Thursday, we ran mock interview sessions with the students to give them some valuable experience in interviewing and to provide feedback afterwards. This was also a great opportunity for the students to put some of the skills they learned throughout the Insights Programme into practice."
Impact of the Insights Programme
NVQ and T-Level Student Work Placement
Work placement is a critical and rewarding part of the NVQ and T-level courses. It is not only a great opportunity to learn technical skills but to learn about the workplace, get feedback, expand knowledge, impress potential employers and get out of your comfort zone. Version 1 was delighted to be supporting HCUC here by taking on three students for a challenging, rewarding virtual placement within our organisation.
The placements offered a varied view on how technology and IT can impact businesses:
- Digital Infrastructure Role: This opportunity allowed the student to support our UK Digital, Data and Cloud team with day to day projects and activities.
- Digital Production, Design and Development Role: This student worked alongside our Digital Team on the development of an application for one of our major UK clients.
- Digital Support Role: This position supported our busy Help Desk team, dealing directly with customers.
Employer Advisory Board
Our UK Digital, Data and Cloud Practice Head Enda Diggins met with HCUC’s Suzanna Butler and Catherine Quinn to provide industry context from a large employer in the tech industry as part of their Employer Advisory Board. Enda proposed that they focus on a principled, practical, pragmatic approach to educating in the domain, imbuing students with transferable fundamentals which could facilitate transition into diverse specialist fields over time. In particular, Enda advised that some foundations should be laid around the theory of computation and algorithmic complexity so that students could be aware of the performance impacts of design decisions they make; focus on proven, successful patterns of software design, while giving time to consider anti-patterns also – as we learn more from “what not to do”. Thereafter, software engineering with a focus on either Java or .NET, along with a focus on the most successful public cloud platforms would maximise the employability of graduates.
Enda was delighted to be able to advise HCUC’s Employer Advisory Board:
Through participation in their Employer Advisory Board, I am pleased to be able to contribute in a small way to the development or enhancement of curricula which help the students of Harrow College and Uxbridge College quickly gain employment, bridge the skills gap in our industry, and empower people with capabilities to drive their own career success. Version 1 will bring our knowledge of the technology services market, along with the lessons learned from helping progress the careers of our people through our Continuous Professional Development Pathways, and our Digital Skills Academy.
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