Digital Jersey has been meeting with student representatives from many of the island’s schools this week to ask them what they would like to see as part of a new learning hub. As one of its key aims, Digital Jersey’s Education and Skills Technical Action Group (TAG) have set out to develop ways of building positive links between students, schools and the business community, and the creation of a learning hub is the first of many initiatives now being developed.
The aim of the learning hub will be to foster the development of digital skills in interested secondary school students as an addition to what they are currently doing in school.
Initially given the working title of Project ‘STIG’, for ‘inSTIGate’, students were asked in an interactive workshop facilitated by industry members what, how, where, why and when they would like to learn new digital skills.
The students were also provided with Raspberry Pi ‘starter kits’ at the end of the session to use in projects of their choice over the summer, as a first step towards engaging them in extra-curricular learning in this area. They were also given access to a website specifically designed for them to communicate about this project to ensure that they remain involved as the project evolves.
Their feedback from this event, and on an on-going basis via the website, will be used by the Education and Skills TAG to consider different ways to provide a physical and online environment where students can interact with industry professionals and educators to learn specific skills that could lead to potential jobs and opportunities. The sort of things being considered for the development of the hub include:
• A physical space where students can meet up and interact
• Open access to the internet and appropriate technology
• Focus on learning vocational skills
• A practical and ‘student orientated’ approach
• An oversight body to ensure effective development and operation
Tom Hacquoil, Managing Director, Infuse Internet and Project STIG Leader commented:
“The launch of Project STIG has clearly demonstrated that a lot of our local students are extremely interested in emerging technologies and really do want to learn how they can employ these in their futures. While there are a number of traditional education options available to them, we can certainly do more to encourage and develop this interest; I, myself, left school at 16 to pursue a career in web development, and there was a lack of alternative paths for someone like me who didn’t fit with the standard mould. The aim of this new learning hub will be to provide a place to support digital interests and build skills, as a complement to what is already being provided in schools.”
Ted Ridgway Watt, CEO of Digital Jersey added:
“From the very beginning Digital Jersey has recognised that the development of skills in technology and innovation is essential for sustainable growth of the digital sector in Jersey. This project is a valuable first step in supporting the enthusiasm of students and helping them to gain the skills that they will need to find employment and create new enterprise in the digital sector. It also provides the opportunity for industry and schools to take steps towards that key goal of developing digital skills amongst our young people and giving them a platform to demonstrate what they can do.”