Social responsibility has always been a cornerstone of our business, and we’re big believers in ‘giving back’ – especially when it means supporting our local community in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.
Last year, we were approached by Sheffield College to join 20+ local businesses working alongside them as part of their Employer Skills Academy. We sponsored a higher education computing course for students between 18 and 21 years old, and worked closely with the College to ensure the content would align with employability in today’s marketplace.
With our first academic year concluding this summer, we were delighted to be asked to return to the programme with an additional T-Level (previously BTEC) cohort, helping students aged 16 to 18.
Once a month, members of our team join students in Highlander-branded classrooms to provide real-life subject-matter expertise through a mix of theoretical explanations and practical demonstrations.
We also endeavour to present our students with a broad set of insights and expertise. We’re fortunate to be able to call upon different members of both our team and the wider FluidOne family to provide in-depth industry knowledge in specific areas.
Our involvement isn’t limited to the classroom, however. In 2024, we’ll be offering one student the opportunity to join our team for a period of work experience, getting them on-site and actively involved in our day-to-day activities. Other students will also get to do the same with other businesses across the area.
Most of us will remember from our own experiences between the ages of 16 and 21, it isn’t always easy to know where you want your career to go. This is especially true when what you learn during your studies isn’t representative of life in the working world.
Through their Employer Skills Academies, Sheffield College hopes to better inform and prepare students for what to expect in their chosen careers, while showcasing the different opportunities available to them. It also provides valuable exposure to industry professionals and organisations who might one day become potential employers.
In our case, we hope students leave our courses with a clear understanding of what life in an IT role looks like and are enthused by the prospect of forging their own path in an exciting and fast-evolving industry.
As mentioned previously, giving back to our local community is something that is always important to us, and we see this as a brilliant platform to share our knowledge and skills with the next generation of IT professionals.
It’s also a good opportunity for us to grow and extend our relationship with not only Sheffield College, but the other local businesses that make up the group of academy sponsors.
But perhaps most importantly, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding. Our monthly classes offer a welcome change of scene for those involved, and it’s pleasing to have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students.
Huge thanks to Sheffield College for inviting us to be part of this fantastic initiative, and to the students and staff for their enthusiasm. We look forward to supporting and championing the Employer Skills Academy for many years to come.