Sheffield Digifest Celebrates Next Generation of Tech Talent

Posted: July 9, 2018 at 5:22 pm

Sheffield Digifest 2018 took place on Monday 2nd July at the new Hertha Ayrton STEM Centre at Sheffield Hallam University.

Sheffield City Council and Sero Skills coordinated the festival supported by Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Sheffield, The Sheffield College, UTC Sheffield and Sheffield Digital.

The event compromised of two programmes, a morning of fun hands-on digital workshops tailored to primary schools and an afternoon Digital Careers Fair geared towards secondary school and post-16 students.

Workshops for primary schools were delivered by a range of providers, but most impressively by a group of secondary school pupils and one primary school group. The pupils, from All Saints Catholic High School, Ecclesfield School, Handsworth Grange Community Sports College, High Storrs School and Malin Bridge Primary School, confidently led sessions in Hopscotch, Lego Mindstorms Robotics, Micro:bit and CodeBug for the attendees.

Other workshop providers included Sheffield City Council’s E-Learning Team who offered sessions in Sonic Pi and Making the News Using Green Screen, The Sheffield College who delivered workshops in Games Design and App Development, and UTC Sheffield, whose students delivered Cyber Security and VEX Robotics sessions.

Local electronics company Pimoroni also led a workshop using their scroll:bit add on for the micro:bit. Schools who attended on the day were also given Pimoroni starter packs so that they could continue to develop their skills back in school.

Joanne Houghton, Teacher at Worsbrough Primary School, who attended the event with Y5 pupils said: “Our Year 6s got so much out of the day, they talked about the workshops they’d been to all the way through lunch! They were given opportunities that are difficult for us to provide in a primary school but which are so important in preparing our learners for the future.”

The afternoon programme was supported by a host of digital sector employers, who offered young people from across the region a chance to find out about the vast career opportunities available on their doorstep.

Employers and education providers present included Sumo Digital, Steel Minions, 3Squared, Arm, Fretwell-Downing Hospitality, Twinkl, Plusnet, Target Information Systems, Hydra Creative, STEM Learning, Sheffield Women in Tech, Careers Yorkshire and the Humber, UTC Sheffield, The Sheffield College, Sheffield Hallam University and The University of Sheffield.

Attendees were able to talk directly with employers, find out about their roles and routes into industry. Talks, demonstrations and activities also took place, including ‘Get into the Game: Careers In Video Games’ with Sumo Digital, ‘Autonomous Driving Using Micro:bit’ with Arm and ‘Discover Your Future Career’ with Plusnet. Exhibitors also offered exciting demonstrations on their stands, including a VR set-up of the latest titles from the Steel Minions games studio and interactive NAO Robots programmed by The University of Sheffield.

Helen Walker, part of Sheffield Hallam University’s Schools and Colleges Engagement Team, said: “We were delighted to host Digifest and welcome young students to our University. At Hallam, we have a strong reputation for giving students the skills and experience of digital technologies. Whether it’s our in-house computer game design studio, animation, or robotics, Hallam is leading the way in Sheffield’s digital activities, and hopefully with Digifest we have helped to inspire future generations.”

For more information on Sheffield Digifest and related activities, visit the Sheffield Digital Skills Action Plan website: www.sheffielddigitalskills.org.uk

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