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Technology firms and e-skills offer industry mentoring to schools

Kayleigh Bateman

UK IT companies have joined forces with e-skills to launch a mentoring scheme, designed to support ICT teachers in secondary schools.

The scheme includes support from the likes of HP, IBM, Sopra, Unilever, and National Grid, and aims to connect tech professionals with schools in their local area.

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Mentors work together with teachers to inspire young people to consider careers in technology. Pupils are also taught what skills technology employers are looking for when hiring new recruits, which includes tips and advice on soft skills.

Evelyn Walker, defence and security implementation HR manager at HP, is a mentor at Eastwood High School near Glasgow.

She said: “It has been an exceptionally rewarding experience to support and deliver a tailored mentoring programme that reaches the school’s ICT, and business management and administration students.

“I believe it has inspired the students to understand the exciting IT ‘working world’ that they are going to embark on. I thoroughly recommend this mutually beneficial programme, and I look forward to continuing to work with Eastwood High’s supportive teachers."

Ann McVey, principle teacher at Eastwood High School, said: “It has been invaluable for the pupils in our Business Education and Computing Science Faculty to have someone from the IT industry come into school.

“Evelyn enthusiastically shared her experiences of working in the industry, and I'm sure that the students will now see the relevance of the topics they are studying. This was an excellent opportunity for pupils to understand the range of roles in the IT industry, the skills required in the digital economy, and the importance of a good CV. As a teacher, I also appreciated being able to update my knowledge.”

Remote mentoring is also been available via Skype, video conferencing and FaceTime.

Karen Price, chief executive of e-skills UK, said: “The mentoring scheme has been oversubscribed since its launch, which is a testament to how keen educators and technology employers are to work together to enhance the student experience in computer science and IT.

“The continuing shortage of skilled technology professionals means that we need to do all we can to support IT teachers’ valuable work, and putting role models like these mentors into the classroom is a powerful way of showing students the opportunities available to them. This scheme is an enriching experience for everyone concerned.”


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