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Careers in tech brought to life through Connecting Silicon Hack

Students on the Silicon Hack course visit North London Architects' studioInspire! recently partnered with Central Foundation Boys’ School to enrich their vocational Sixth Form IT course, Silicon Hack. An innovative approach to IT education, Silicon Hack teaches the coding skills needed to thrive in the tech industry in a ‘boot camp’ style. The Connecting Silicon Hack project was generously funded by Derwent London, who support community projects through their Tech Belt fund.

Inspire! helped bring students’ learning to life by introducing them to the wealth of tech sector businesses and role models on the school’s Shoreditch doorstep. The sessions aimed to strengthen the school’s relationship with local businesses as well as students’ ability to access future opportunities.

Students took part in four workplace visits, meeting a variety of employee volunteers who opened their eyes to the breadth of opportunities in STEM. The trips to tech giants Google and Salesforce, architecture firm NLA, and start-up company Curve each showcased a different working environment.

By talking to staff about how they got into the industry, students gained an understanding of how they too could succeed. Volunteers also offered tailored advice on work experience, improving their CVs and what type of company might suit their skillsets. The range of routes that volunteers had taken helped dispelled the myth that a computer science degree was the only way into a tech career.

Through preparation sessions before the visits, Inspire! helped students to become more confident in networking with tech professionals. 100% of the students agreed that they were more aware of a diverse range of STEM roles, with the majority feeling more confident in networking with the local tech community following the programme. One commented that the talks at Google “were very informative and gave me confidence in the path I’m taking”, while another learnt that “Confidence, decision making, integrity and good work ethic are important skills and qualities for working in the tech industry.”

The visits also proved mutually beneficial for the business volunteers, who enhanced their public speaking skills by presenting to young people. By forging links with young tech talent, they were not only able to give back to their communities but meet potential candidates for future opportunities at their companies.

Despite rapid expansion of the tech industry, graduate unemployment rates are still relatively high, with competition for jobs growing. The Connecting Silicon Hack programme aims to counter this and increase the chances of CFBS students’ gaining employment in the sector. On completion, some students spoke of building on their connections and looking for future jobs and apprenticeships in the Old Street area.

You can find out more about Inspire!’s work in local secondary schools or get in touch with our Secondary team to discuss how your school or business could benefit from getting involved.