Just a few reasons why Scotland is such an exciting place to nurture digital talent…

By Anna Doyle
13 Mar 2018

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Since BIMA Digital Day in November 2017, BIMA Scotland has met some brilliant people doing really great things to help young people get ready for a future in digital. It is exciting to see projects funded by the Scottish Government but also through sheer human will making a difference and inspiring young people to help them make informed choices about their career paths. Here are just a few.

Inga Paterson

Inga Paterson leads the BA (Hons) Interaction Design programme at the Glasgow School of Art, and since the inception of the programme in 2010, she has been working to develop and grow it to its current stage of development. Over the last 12 months Inga has delivered several projects which beyond providing excellent skills and experience for the students, has made great strides in bringing the School into much closer collaboration with the Arts, the local community and our Scottish-based digital industry leaders. Such examples include:

– the opportunity for final year students to work with Scottish Ballet. The outcome was an Interactive Dance Installation using the Kinect V2 and Peppers Ghost style projection for The Scottish Ballet’s Digital Season 2017, themed “Under the skin.”

– She played a key role within GSA’s widening participation team and Interaction Design staff to deliver an Interaction Design Taster Day for school children

– establishing an exchange partnership for Interaction Design staff and students with the Bachelor of Design in Human Centred Design at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology in Bangalore, India.

Most recently, she has collaborated with BIMA to establish a guest speaker programme at GSA; inviting members of BIMA to speak to students studying Interaction Design and other design programmes. To date, the talks have included Voice, Zero UI, the rise of AI and its relevance for future designers. It will from Jan through to April. She also introduced me to the formidable Craig Steele.

Craig Steele

Craig Steele is a founder of CoderDojo Scotland, a national network of volunteer run coding clubs for young people. Over the past year the network has continued to grow with 5852 young people taking part in 626 club sessions across Scotland. At the clubs young people learn to build apps, games, make wearable technology, and explore cutting edge tech.

Craig is committed to helping people develop digital skills in a fun and creative environment. He designs and delivers interactive experiences that brings coding and programming to life, for people of all ages and abilities. A great example of this is his “How to Rob a Bank” live streamed sessions. Almost 2000 young people from across the UK and internationally have taken part in the past 6 months. This is bringing in new digital talent who don’t have the opportunity to learn these much-needed digital skills. These online collaborative games have made learning digital skills a fun and sociable experience, and feedback from learners is that it has increased their awareness of jobs in digital. It has also proven a brilliant online classroom resource for teachers across Scotland.

Helena Good

Helena Good is a design lecturer at Edinburgh College. Throughout her time as a lecturer she has sought to develop how employers and educators work together to create the workforce of the future.

Over the last 9 years she has developed an award winning Mentoring Programme involving designers from leading design agencies. In January 2017 she launched a unique programme of engagement in secondary schools promoting creative thinking, digital skills and employability within the Creative Industries. In June 2017 – nineteen school pupils aged 13 – 14 joined staff and pupils from Edinburgh College on a weeklong experience called Daydream Believers. For this programme, she recruited the active support of some of Scotland’s leading employers within the Design and Digital technology sector. To date 23 schools across Edinburgh and Lothian have engaged with the programme. https://vimeo.com/229829203

Helena is currently working on her latest project which is a 15 week collaboration programme between schools and industry supported by Skyscanner, Realise and Whitespace. One of the teachers gave his reason for being part of this project by saying – he wanted to stop saying ‘in the real world’ and actually bring the real world into the classroom.

Developing the Young Workforce (DYW)

Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) is the Scottish Government’s Youth Employment strategy (2014-2021) that aims to better connect industry and education to better prepare and educate children and young people aged 3–18 for the world of work. DYW aims to engage with businesses to shape and recruit young people. To ensure connectivity between businesses and education, regional, employer led groups have been set up across Scotland. Schools and Colleges also have DYW leads to drive this agenda forward and are keen for more businesses to get involved in shaping their young people, supporting the curriculum offer, hosting work placements, facilitating career insight sessions and much, much more. A digital platform, Marketplace (www.ourskillsforce.co.uk/marketplace) has been created where industry can offer opportunities to inform and inspire young people still at school.

DYW know that influencers of young people, namely teachers, lecturers and parents also need to be informed and inspired to support young people to make decisions for their future. One initiative that is being delivered is ‘Teacher Work Placements’ where teachers spend a day in industry to better understand what jobs are available, what these mean and how to access these. BIMA has already engaged with central belt DYW regional groups to help support current initiatives and look to grow our flagship digital day programme. This is a brilliant opportunity for the digital industry in Scotland to help schools get their students ready for the workplace of the future and there are many routes to getting involved.

Of course, looking to ensure our future talent in digital is inspired and nurtured is a key priority but we must also look to ensuring our talent already in the workplace has a place to grow and flourish.

TRC Media

The formidable team at TRC Media have rich experience of working with creative leaders, entrepreneurs, television and digital media creatives across the industry. From rising stars refreshing the industry’s supply chain to senior executives adapting their business models, TRC has transformed the career prospects and business ambitions of its beneficiaries. New start-ups have been established, international business secured, skills shortages tackled, business strategies reframed and invaluable networks established.

TRC Media’s Cross Creative and Special Edition annual programmes are much sought after and highly valued by all those who take part. All programmes offered by TRC Media are perfectly curated to address personal growth and business needs but the real wow factor of TRC Media is the smart, highly experienced, highly knowledgeable, honest and incredibly warm team that make everything happen.

These amazing people and organisations make Scotland a really exciting place for BIMA to continue our energies on inspiring and growing new digital talent but the list is by no means exhaustive. Expect more stories to follow…..


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