YOUNG people have been discovering that a career in Dorset’s booming digital and creative industries need not be about coding skills.
The research and delivery agency Silicon South has launched Digital Horizons, an initiative to find the next generation of talent for the sector.
An event at Bournemouth and Poole College’s Jellicoe Theatre included high-profile speakers Jim Cregan of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, Jonathan Ginn of app developer Base, Megan Austwick of the RNLI and Mike Hawkyard of games developer Amuzo.
Around 600 students had a chance to enjoy the speeches and a trade show.
The initiative is being supported by JP Morgan through its JPMorgan Chase Foundation. It will target people aged 15-18, particularly from some of the most deprived areas of Bournemouth and Poole.
Anthony Story, director of Silicon South, said: “We’re working with JP Morgan, who have been brilliant. The focus was on getting young people in some of the most deprived areas of Bournemouth and Poole to learn a bit more about the creative and digital sector and to introduce them to some of the career choices they might not know about that exist inside that sector.”
He added: “There are a lot of jobs, in terms of project management and account management and all those other skills, which we need as well as computer knowledge.”
As well as highlighting career options, Digital Horizons aims to provide skills through placements.
David Ford, chairman of Silicon South and founder of the agency Bright Blue Day, said: “Knowing what career you want to pursue is incredibly difficult. When you add to this the relative novelty of careers in the digital, creative and technology industries, it can make deciding even what area you want to work in impossible.
“The concept of equipping students with the right skills and real-world experience through Digital Horizons is great. It will help show students what it’s like to work in their chosen fields and help businesses network with the emerging talent of the region”.
Digital Horizons will take roadshows to several schools and conurbation.
Before Bournemouth and Poole College, it had run events at the Bourne Academy and Bishop of Winchester Academy.
Gregg Turner, a student from Bishop of Winchester, said: ‘’I found the digital event at my local sixth form very enjoyable and eye opening. I never thought so many opportunities could be brought into one single room.”
Fellow student Chloe Loveless said: ‘’Digital Horizons definitely topped every single life skills lesson we have ever had. The best thing since sixth form.”