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Leading technology employers support school IT mentoring scheme in UK

Antony Savvas | April 8, 2014
Major technology employers are piloting a mentoring scheme to support ICT teachers in secondary schools across the UK, in an effort to tackle the ongoing skills shortage.

Major technology employers are piloting a mentoring scheme to support ICT teachers in secondary schools across the UK, in an effort to tackle the ongoing skills shortage.

Companies including HP, IBM, Sopra, Unilever and National Grid are leading the nationwide mentoring scheme, which connects tech professionals with schools in their local area.

The scheme aims to enhance the student and teacher experience by bringing real-world industry examples and expertise into the ICT classroom. The mentors work together with teachers to help inspire young people about topics ranging from coding to tech careers.

Pupils also receive guidance about the mix of skills that tech employers are looking for in new recruits, including soft skills and business behaviour.

So far, the scheme - which is overseen by skills body e-skills UK - has proved very popular, with an average application rate of three schools to every mentor.

To accommodate the high interest, remote mentoring has also been available via Skype, video conferencing and FaceTime technologies. Both teachers and pupils have reported benefits from closer links to the tech industry.

Evelyn Walker from HP, a mentor at Eastwood High School near Glasgow, said, "It has been an exceptionally rewarding experience to support and deliver a tailored mentoring programme that reaches the school's ICT, and business management and administration students.

"I believe it has inspired the students to understand the exciting IT 'working world' that they are going to embark on. I thoroughly recommend this programme, and I look forward to continuing to work with Eastwood High's supportive teachers."

Ann McVey, principle teacher at Eastwood High School said, "This was an excellent opportunity for pupils to understand the range of roles in the IT industry, the skills required in the digital economy, and the importance of a good CV. As a teacher, I also appreciated being able to update my knowledge."

Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, said, "The mentoring scheme has been oversubscribed since its launch, which is testament to how keen educators and tech employers are to work together to enhance the student experience in computer science and IT."

 

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