Today I meet twenty 18-20 year olds studying software development and IT at Manchester College. Lewis runs Hyper Island's Digital Apprenticeship Programme that gives young people a full time paid job inside a digital agency where they learn to code. We were also joined by Dan who is one of four Digital Apprentices currently at Code Computer Love, you can read their side of the story here. Dan says:
"About two weeks before I was due to finish my college course in Level 3 Software Development, a guy called Lewis Greener walked into my classroom and started to tell us about Hyper Island. It took me a few days to warm to the idea of going back – but then I realised the digital apprenticeship was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
I’m really enjoying working here at Code – every day is different, but equally as challenging as the one before!"
Lewis told the Hyper Island story and then asked each group to answer several questions. Firstly, what does 'digital' mean to you? The answers surprised me. They were based around signals and code with little mention of products, services or the consequences of digital.
We then asked them for examples of the 'digital industry'. The answers weren't the usual suspects, with big telecom companies and small local agencies such as Amaze being cited.
The next question we asked, what do people who work in 'digital' actually do, revealed very practical answers related to the 'build' phase of a digital product design cycle.
We then introduced the group to creative principles of good team work and tasked them with a Tech Mash Up, very similar to a project I worked on Rip and Mix, where you take two unrelated things from a group of apps, technology and services and mash them together to get a new thing! They students then presented their ideas back - my favourite was one mashing up Angry Birds and bin collection service which would incentivise students to remember to take their bins out.
Some of the students have already accepted a place at University, although as their teacher reminded them, this will probably result in at least 30K of debt. Some of the students who are on our apprentice programme at the moment are still planning to go to University but are going with a year of industry experience under their belt.
Hat tip to Lewis for general awesomeness.