Social media takeover & masterclass from robotic dog inspires school pupils to Think Big
15 July 2022
School pupils from Nottingham with budding ambitions in tech hosted a social media takeover and learned about all things artificial intelligence from a robotic dog at the Nottingham Forest City Ground stadium.
The event marks the next phase of the Think Big partnership between billion pound Notts software firm Ideagen and Nottingham Forest Community Trust (NFCT), which is designed to boost career prospects in technology and to help bridge the UK’s digital skills gap.
Pupils from the Stone Soup Academy, Nottingham Girls Academy and Djonogly City Academy attended the event alongside teachers.
Students took over the Think Big social media channels, supported by the NFCT team and shared live updates and photos throughout the morning.
Meanwhile, Ideagen’s resident office canine – a robotic dog named Apollo – taught pupils the roles of artificial intelligence, machine learning and research within technology. Apollo also introduced pupils to a friendly environment for students to learn coding.
From today, hundreds of pupils from schools across Nottinghamshire will benefit from career support from nearly 60 newly launched Think Big ‘Ambassadors’ – comprising nearly 50 members of staff from Ideagen at a range of levels, and 10 NFCT staff members.
Ambassadors in departments from marketing to sales, IT to HR and product development to finance, have stepped forward to offer career insight to pupils enrolled in the Think Big programme.
Ideagen has also committed to opening up at least thirty apprenticeships throughout the next three years, from intermediate (level 2) to degree level; with the first cohort of apprenticeships now open.
Ideagen CEO, Ben Dorks
Speaking about the project, Ideagen CEO Ben Dorks, said: “We are hugely passionate that Ideagen has a positive impact on the career aspirations and skills of young people in Nottingham and our aim through Think Big is to provide our local young people with high quality learning experiences that will help them thrive in a world driven by technology.
“I’m delighted that applications for our first cohort of apprenticeships are now open. We’re offering roles in a range of departments and we urge young people on the Think Big programme to find out more and apply.
“Entering the world of employment is a minefield but nothing compares to face-to-face support. I’m immensely proud that together with Nottingham Forest, such a large number of staff from both organisations have volunteered to become Think Big Ambassadors to share their career stories and the decisions they made along the way.”
Nottingham Forest Community Trust CEO, Graham Moran BEM
Graham Moran BEM, Nottingham Forest Community Trust CEO, added, “Since launching Think Big in partnership with Ideagen, we are thrilled to see first-hand the impact this revolutionary programme is providing young people in schools across the county.
“By combining the power of sport and technology, we have collectively engaged thousands of Nottinghamshire school pupils by encouraging them to take the next step and embark on their journey to Think Big.
“Throughout the programme, young people have been exposed to career possibilities beyond the pathways they would naturally gravitate towards and has given them room to understand and expand their cultural capital.
“We are already seeing students at the end of their Think Big journey as they look beyond school life and I delighted that the Ideagen apprenticeships are now open and ready for students to apply.”
Since the initiative got underway in November 2021, the Think Big team have presented to more than 6,000 students from 23 schools, hosting talks for pupils with the aim of promoting technology as a career choice and raising awareness of the different technology-related career paths.
Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 pupils have attended Think Big masterclasses to help with their future career choices.
From VAR to goal line technology, innovation through technology in sport continues to grow and match day activities have taken place at the Nottingham Forest ground about how technological developments have advanced and revolutionised the game of football.
Students on the scheme from Autism East Midlands have attended workshops, such as app development challenges, at Ideagen’s HQ. Meanwhile, a dedicated programme of support has been built for Nottingham College Computer Science pupils to run alongside and assist their Computer Science A-Levels.
More information can be found on the Think Big website: www.thinkbiggoals.co.uk