With the British Chambers of Commerce warning that 75 per cent of businesses are facing a digital skills shortage, it’s important that all of us in the industry do what we can to ensure the next generation is able and willing to consider a career in the technology sector. It is, after all, an incredible time to be involved in technology as it increasingly touches on every aspect of our lives. But our message to young people is, rather than just consuming digital services – go out and create them for others!
This is why the GCI Kids in Technology programme is so important to us. Last week we hosted 30 children aged 11 and 12 from Belmont House School, Glasgow at the Microsoft office in Edinburgh. We wanted to show them examples of cool technology in action – and in some cases, they showed us! Amongst other things, this included a session using Microsoft Hololens to enable students to engage with digital content and interact with holograms and objects in the world around them. We’re also pleased to say that all of the children completed the “The Hour of Code”, which is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries.
The inspiration behind the event came from our Microsoft Alliance Director, Margaret Totten. During a moment with her son on a school trip she realised that his female classmates weren’t dreaming of their own future careers, but rather limiting themselves to dreams of marrying athletes. In her own words, “All the little boys wanted to be football players, and all the little girls wanted to be the wives of football players.”
This spurred her into action, and she has worked with a member of her team, Kimberly Totten, to think about how they could make technology more accessible to kids…and the programme was born. It’s designed to show kids the many opportunities open to those interested in building a career in technology, and is now in its third year. As you can see from the photo below we’re hoping that the children not only enjoyed themselves, but left feeling inspired about the difference they could potentially make not only to their own lives, but the world around them.