Belfast Met recently ran an event aimed at bringing high school students, teachers and employers together to educate about jobs in the local IT industry.
With IT being in a significant skill deficit Northern Ireland with females particularly underrepresented, this collaborative event aimed to address this and encourage more young people to consider this viable career route.
The event, which consisted of a series of talks and workshops was hosted by UTV presenter and college lecturer, Aidan Browne, on December 5 at Belfast Met’s e3 campus. The key note speaker was Emer Maguire, an international award-winning science communicator and radio presenter.
Leading IT companies and stakeholders were in attendance such as Fujitsu, Liberty IT, Deloitte, CME Group, Allstate, Kainos, NICS, PWC, Version 1 and Ulster University.
Susan McCambridge from Belfast Met said: “We are delighted to work in partnership with Women in Business to encourage young females to consider a career in IT here in Northern Ireland, with special thanks to Department for the Economy for funding Bring IT On which plays an important role in addressing the IT skills shortage in NI”
Principal Consultant at Fujitsu Sinead Dillon said: “Given the underrepresentation of women in IT, we felt it was important as a sector to come together and help young female students locally understand the scale of opportunity presented by ICT. Focused on the future of work, together with Bring IT On and experts across the industry, we shone a light on the transferable and core skills needed to thrive in the industry and key growth areas including artificial intelligence, cyber security and connected technologies.”
Sinead added: “As a business, we continually emphasise the importance of co-creation with our customers, so it is only nature we collaborate with our peers in the industry to attract new talent. Young people today are increasingly tech-savvy and innovative, and we were thrilled with the focus and enthusiasm from local pupils throughout the day.”
Niamh O’Connell, a student who attended the event, said: “Bring It On was a great event which was very inspirational for young girls and I would definitely consider a career in ICT after it. I also really enjoyed listening to Emer Maguire.”
Fellow student Kate Hughes, said: “I think the Bring It On event was absolutely superb. I have learnt so much about careers that involve IT and have developed an understanding of what it is like to work within IT. At the start of the event I was nearly certain that I did not want a career in IT but by the end of it I was nearly certain that I did want a career in IT.”
Colette Walker, a teacher at Ashfield Girls, said: “The girls thoroughly enjoyed the day and were extremely well looked after. They particularly enjoyed listening to the experiences of IT industry experts. The main thing is that most of the girls in the group are now considering ICT as an option at Post 16, which is fantastic.”
To find out about Belfast Met’s IT course provision or to speak to a careers advisor, come along to the College’s Fulltime Open Day on January 26 from 9am to 2pm and Wednesday February 6 from 1pm to 8pm at the Titanic Quarter campus.