On 13th October, we hosted the first of our two Birmingham Tech Week events, alongside TIN Smart Social, and GBSLEP: Birmingham Tech 2030 – Next Gen and New Voices.
We looked at what’s happening now to support the diverse talent pool of the future, finding out who are the emerging heroes for our next generation to be inspired by, and discussed what barriers do we need to overcome to ensure diversity is a given not a challenge by Birmingham Tech 2030.
Watch the full session here:
Next Gen Speakers
Jayden is one of the recent graduates of the Digisheds Can Do Digital employability programme in the West Midlands (Cohort 1 Feb-July 2020), which led to his employment in August 2020 with Methods UK as a junior ServiceNow Developer (Certified System Administrator and Certified Application Developer). He is quickly developing real-world experience in ITSM, Scripting, Service Portal and ATF, with the ambition to develop deeper knowledge of the overall software development process to become a software architect.
As a Can Do Digital trainee, Jayden developed a wide range of professional and business employability skills to complement learning Service Management basics and the fundamentals of the ServiceNow Platform. He also worked directly with ServiceNow in the Digisheds Sector Ready Studio (Professional and Cloud Services) to achieve certifications (Application Developer/Certified System Administrator) and micro certifications (Designer, Automated Test Framework, Integration Hub, Agile Development). Jayden studied a National Higher Diploma in Software Engineering at the University of Southampton (including Software Modelling and Design, Interaction Design, Algorithmics, Programming (Java) and Programming Concepts).
Jake is a Junior ServiceNow System Administrator at Methods UK, currently working with the Ministry of Justice as his key client. He joined Methods UK in August at the end of the first Digisheds employability programme (CAN DO DIGITAL) based in Birmingham and, online. This followed a BTEC Level 2 First Extended Certificate at Bournville College. Jake has a wide knowledge base (Database management/Website development/Programming in HTML and Python/Networking / Animation) and demonstrated strong teamwork and leadership skills during his time with Digisheds. Passionate about developing his professional business skills alongside his digital and technical expertise, he impressed the Methods team at virtual interview and was one of five others to be recruited from the programme.
“I graduated from the University of Birmingham with a 2.1 in BSc Accounting and Finance. Prior to this I studied A-Levels in Business Studies, ICT and Psychology. I am currently taking part in the Digital Innovators Skills Programme running from September – December 2020.
Whilst I’ve successfully completed my degree, understanding where my strengths lie outside of studying and in a working environment has been something I’ve struggled to put down on paper. Taking part in the Digital Innovators Skills Programme has enabled me to discover strengths I did not know I had and therefore build up my self confidence. I can use this newly found understanding of myself to search for jobs that are right for me and to put forward my strongest attributes in future interviews and applications. Discovering where my strengths lie also highlighted to me my passion for learning and how strongly I value fairness and equality.
I’m looking forward to continuing this personal development and to discovering how I can really utilise all of the skills I’ve learned from University to get the most out of the next steps in my career.”
“I undertook the Digital Innovators course alongside my Information Technology Course at Solihull College & University Centre (2017 to July 2019). I achieved a Distinction in my IT (networking and cyber security) course and I was offered an interview for CCL Forensics through Digital Innovators in July 2019. I have been working at CCL full time since October 2019.
I have grown tremendously in confidence since starting the course back in 2017. This growth in self-belief has given me the ability to walk into interviews knowing that I have the skills and personal attributes to do well. Alongside the course, I undertook numerous work experience opportunities with companies such as Smart Tech, Adi Group, Touchwood Shopping Centre and even Digital Innovators themselves. Since then, I have entered employment knowing exactly what is expected of me and have grown to master workplace etiquettes such as punctuality, time management and organisation. As part of Digital Innovators, my group and I entered the Conrad Project and starred in a documentary showing our journey throughout the project.
Digital Innovators inspired my love for learning new skills thus I spent three summers working as a Production Operative at a sports kit manufacturing company and also volunteered at a library. I also helped manage a barber shop and run its social media pages – a role I loved as I connected with a diverse range of people everyday which really helped strengthen my communication skills.
I am now a trained Mobile Device Analyst at CCL Forensics – I love working in an industry where I can learn new things all the time.”
“My name is Kobi Noah, I’m 18 years old and I’m from Birmingham.
I’m very passionate about technology and studied IT at college, later narrowing this down to working in Networking and Cyber Security.
During the latter half of secondary school I found myself struggling to find a subject that really grabbed my interest. I came to realise that IT was a great subject to focus my learning on and offered a future proof industry that I could continue to work and study in for a long time. It is a diverse and revolutionising subject, with each new year bringing on exciting new developments and impressive systems. Studying IT highlighted to me how many essential technologies there are that we use daily and that I had previously taken for granted. This increased my drive to continue to learn and improve my knowledge on the history of technology and delve into what our future alongside technology may look like.
Alongside my studying, the Digital Innovators Skills Programme progressed my workplace and technical skills and took them to the next level. I learned skills that would support my technical knowledge in an employee position like communication, negotiation and professionalism. Their course went hand in hand with my studying and enabled me to get to where I am today.”
“I have recently joined the Digital Innovators Skills Programme which runs until December. Having been on the programme for less than a month I am already seeing great personal growth and development in my self-belief.
I have discovered that one of my core skills is creativity – something I was previously unaware of! Now, when advising customers about design schemes, I feel confident enough to voice my opinion and face problems head on with creative solutions.
I feel this course has also encouraged me to change my perspective and have a more positive outlook. I now approach problems with optimism – a mindset change that has already benefited me in many aspects of my day-to-day life.
I have really enjoyed working with the Digital Innovators team. There is a great emphasis on ensuring the appropriate skills are put into practice, something I think is done very well through the tasks.
I’m excited to continue to learn more about my strengths and abilities and know I have the skills and confidence to be the best I can be!”
New Voices of Innovation
Having role models in our life is very important, and having good role models is even more important. Positive role models influence our actions and motivate us to strive to uncover our true potentials and overcome our weakness. That’s why we are launching ‘New Voices of Innovation’. A rich and diverse database of people that cannot only inspire our next generation of innovators but also act as ambassadors for diversity in innovation. Hear from our first wave of role models and get ready to be inspired.
NAOMI ROBINSON, Analyst on the Business and Technology Graduate scheme at Capgemini
Naomi is currently an Analyst on the Business and Technology Graduate scheme at Capgemini. Her main interests within technology include understanding the customer journey through user research and digital adoption. Prior to joining Capgemini, she graduated from the University of Manchester with a BA(Hons) in Geography. During her time at university, Naomi completed a number of internships within the local government, a social mobility charity called upReach and at The New York Times. Also, Naomi was President of one of the biggest cultural societies at the University of Manchester and also fundraised over £3000 to complete a voluntary placement in Jamaica. Alongside her current role, Naomi is co-leading a mentoring initiative which matches junior talent from diverse backgrounds with senior leaders and participating in a company-led inclusion forum. Naomi is passionate about sharing her journey, in the hope of encouraging young people from non-STEM backgrounds to consider a career in technology.
ANWAR ALMOJARKESH, Acoustic Classification Expert
Anwar was granted a Tier1 Exceptional Talent Visa in 2016 from UK Home Office as an expert of sound classification. Anwar holds 10 patents for sound classification algorithms that are used in: healthcare, safety and railway predictive maintenance. Anwar has worked with London Midlands, NetworkRail, Samsung, HS2, CPC, University of Birmingham, and Digi-Rail. Anwar developed a people detection sensor based on acoustic sensors deployed at level crossings and train stations as part of RSSB funded TOC17 project on Suicide, Trespass and Risky Behaviour Reduction.
Currently, Anwar’s company is generating a profit and we using this review to reinvest in R&D to detect a wide range of sound for health, safety and comfort.
Anwar’s innovation track-record includes:
- Finalist at Tech Founder – Munich – Germany
- Finalist at BT Infinity Lab competition – Better World Innovation Challenge
- Finalist at Creative Business Cap – London – United Kingdom
- 1st Place HS2 Hackathon – A Hackathon with collaboration with CATAPULT -Milton Keynes – UK
- 1st Place Best Practices: Excellent in Universal Design – New York – USA
- Finalist at Accelerace Incubation – Esbjerg – Denmark
- 1st place at Slush Event in Finland – Helsinki
- Won grant from Sirius program – London – United Kingdom
- Finalist at GIST Tech-I Competition 2013
- 7th place in Worldwide Finals Microsoft Imagine Cup in Sydney – Australia 2012
“I am currently studying a Computer Science degree at Aston University and working as a Digital forensic analyst. It is a role that is usually offered to postgraduates, but was opened up to me through Digital Innovators) and I feel extremely proud to be working within this interesting area of technology.
Prior to this role, I obtained a computer science BTEC (Distinction) and have worked as a junior web developer, a technician in a mobile phone repair shop and a sales assistant. I’ve left these jobs having gained real life experience in working in a team as well as independently and I’m willing to throw myself into different working environments knowing I can handle any challenges that come my way.
Digital Innovators have also been a big part of this learning curve. Having taught me a great number of valuable skills that I have been able to implement when applying for jobs and in my day-to-day life, they have helped me in pursuing career opportunities and handling interview situations. Their course has offered me invaluable experience and knowledge I would have otherwise lacked when finishing my computer science course at solihull college.
I’ve been inspired to speak today because of Mick Westman. His constant determination to try and provide a space for students to be able to leave education and acclimatise to the working environment is commendable. I’m excited to be a part of helping Digital Innovators have a platform in which to reach more young people like myself. I’m here to encourage them to take the leap and strive for more!
Whilst I feel that the technology sector is already one of the most diverse working sectors I do think there is a wider audience to reach. Especially those that the normal education system does not support and would otherwise be left out of having opportunities opened up to them – these are the people I would look to reach and inspire. If I were to offer any advice to these people it would be to be persistent. No one has gone through life without making mistakes, making one does not mean you have failed as a mistake is only a failure when you do not learn anything from it.”