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by Aileen Boyle, Senior Manager
Edinburgh is one of the best places to work in Tech at the moment. The Tech industry is growing so fast, and we've all heard the statistic, that there will be 11000+ vacancies to fill by 2020. Evolving at such a pace, the all knowing 'they' say the tech jobs of the future haven't even been invented yet.
So, how are today's young school students ever to make their subject choices? One suggested answer comes in the form of Careers Hive 2017. And Escrivo were privileged to be part of this fantastic event.
Launched in February 2016, Careers Hive is an immersive careers education event designed to give students aged 11 – 14 another way to think about their futures and an introduction to the future of work. It brilliantly highlights the breadth of opportunities available to young people if they engage with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) throughout their school education.
Run over five days, around 3000 school kids came to the National Museum of Scotland on Chamber Street, Edinburgh, to meet professionals from across the STEM subjects, hear them talk about their career journeys, as well as take part in an interactive exhibition.
In preparation, myself, Senior Manager, Alasdair, our Lead Developer, and Alistair, one of our Junior Developers, were required to complete a half-day 'Communicating with Confidence' course, developed to enhance communication and public engagement skills, specifically with young people. Along with the opportunity to learn how to break down activities and engage with the school kids, it was a great chance to meet some of the other volunteers, made up of PhD students, Audio Engineers, Primatologists, Eco-energy consultants, as well as fellow coders and programme managers.
Volunteering for Tuesday & Thursday, our team help to staff the Design & Play Zone. Here, students could experience Ethical Hacking, Lego Robot programming, Geo Mapping, and Audio Programming.
Our task was simple - to guide the school kids through the activities highlighting how the STEM subjects weave together in everyday life and inspire the next generation of engineers, coders, scientist, makers and thinkers. And what a brilliant experience it was.
We met artists, gamers, writers, mathematicians, computer fanatics, cooks, scientists and sports fanatics, boys and girls alike - all of whom learned how tech interlinks into their areas of interest, in a way they hadn't thought about before. Exclamations of "awesome" and "I'd never thought about it that way" and "I want to be an ethical hacker" made us feel like we had gone some way to achieving our goal of creating a buzz around the STEM subjects.
For us, it was a great opportunity to contribute to the career development of school-aged students directly. We were able to share knowledge and see a group of school kids who might not otherwise have made the link between their subject and tech. We saw them get excited and open their minds to the possibilities.
For Alistair, having recently made a career change to be a developer, the highlight of his experience was being able to break down the tasks into smaller components and witness the 'light going on' when the students successfully completed the activity.
For Alasdair, who has a wealth of experience in software engineering, he loved that the students were genuinely interested and wanted to hear about careers in STEM. "I think the fact they were working on an ethical hacking activity had something to do with it - for some reason being a hacker for a living seemed to appeal to a lot of the students!"
As for me, I most enjoyed being part of the Think tank, where students got to spend 2 minutes with a professional during which time they could ask anything - and ask they did. From "what do you do with your hands" to " what would be your superpower" to "what 5 things do you do every day", rarely was it about the money, although of course, the subject came up - inspiring questions from incredibly curious & motivated students.
I got a tremendous sense of satisfaction through highlighting how much science can go into the in-car systems of a police car, of how computer software is integral in 3d sculpture printing, and of how creating interest in charity projects through digital tools can change lives.
So, would we volunteer again? Absolutely!
If you would like to get involved in any future Careers Hives, then here is the link to their dedicated website http://www.sciencefestival.co.uk/careershive