This week saw the return of Tech Week Humber for the fourth time. The week long festival of events connects enterprise and education in all areas of tech. I’m incredibly proud to be involved in this years event as it showcases my local city and region. I’m also involved as a member on the Board of Advisors.
Oh I’ve missed in-person conferences so much. Thankfully we are now getting back to normal when it comes to conferences, and with that comes the opporunity for networking with others. I spent most of the day in the expo hall, speaking with other attendees, sharing ideas, and generally catching up with some people I’ve not seen for some time.
I have to say though, one of the highlights of the day other than getting to present my session was speaking to the Cyber Team from Humberside Police and the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) about the challenges that they face when catching cyber criminals. The work the team do is exceptional, and speaking to them with my enterprise IT hat on really gave me a different perspective on how the team operate.
It was great to deliver my speaking session on Emerging Tech, where I took a different approach and spoke about the technology in aviation available to us today, specifically on the Airbus A320. It was great to field questions from the audience, talk about aviation technology of the future, and of course combine two great areas of my expertise, technology and aviation.
Wednesday saw the Educators Conference. Technology is a great passion of mine, and understanding how we can use technology to help in education to improve the lives of students, improve outcomes for our young people, and ensure that the technology sector continues to grow in the future with the skills it needs are also areas which I am passionate about.
The educators conference allowed delegates from education to listen to enterprise voices to look at what jobs will be around in 2030, understand the skills we need today, and for EdTech voices to speak about their experiences and provide guidance to educators on how best to achieve their goals.
It was great to participate in a panel discussion with members from local recruitment companies, Hull City Council, VISR Dynamics, and Hull College to understand the skills we will need for the future and have an open discussion around these needs.
One of the areas I tried to highlight was that the need for proper education around online safety is crutial and that the issue of understanding proper safeguards online is as important as digital inclusion and other challenges we face. Young or old, it is vital that we understand how to keep ourselves safe online, keep our children safe online, and provide the support needed when things go wrong.
On Friday, I went some distance out of my comfort zone. I’m used to talking to hundreds, sometimes thousands of people at events and conferences. However, this day, I would be speaking to 60 students in Year 5 and 6 (9-11 years old), with the aim of encouraging them into the field of technology. It’s fairly safe to say the nerves were high, and the anxiety levels were raised, however, I have to say, this was one of the most incredible things I have done.
I spoke to the pupils for around 20 minutes about how games are created, the people involved in creating games, and the different roles that are involved, explaining that you don’t have to be technical, you can do many different roles, and ensuring the highlight the opportunity is for everyone. To highlight the importance of teamwork, and the show how feedback works, I did an exercise allowing them to create their own video game character.
During this exercice, the pupils then had to work with others to get feedback on their ideas, draw a new version, get more feedback before drawing the final version. My art skills are not up to scratch but the pupils did a fine job drawing and describing their characters. Despite the nerves, I loved every minute and hope it inspires some of the children in the room to take up a career in technology.
As someone with deep experience in enterprise IT, this was a different event to be involved in. In a way it took me out of my comfort zone speaking to mostly non-technical audiences, but the feedback on my sessions and the discussion on the panel was great. My key takeaways from the people I spoke with both at the Tech Expo and the Educators Conference is that education is facing the same challenges as technology, it’s fast paced, it’s hard to keep up.
I took away two main questions that got me thinking about how the enterprise can help educators develop the workforce of tomorrow. The first question is how do we encourage more people into technology, either technical or non-technical roles. Secondly, those that are studying tech today, how do we keep them in technology and how do we nurture them to the enterprise.
To the rest of the world, technology is alive and well in the Humber region, we have companies producing some incredible solutions to every day problems. Thanks to Danielle Madden for the incredible photos for the event, and letting me use them in the post.