Supporting the next generation of tech talent
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for change for many industries. For the tech sector in particular, it’s put the spotlight on the importance of digital skills and tech talent, and the role they play in the growth and resilience of businesses of all sizes.
It’s no surprise that, according to LinkedIn, cloud computing skills were among the top three most in-demand skills for employers in the past three years—particularly in the context of the pandemic, which prompted businesses to move online and led to soaring demand for cloud skills and training.
In the UK, continued job creation and investment deals have been key to fueling innovation in the sector. In fact, data for the last year shows that the tech sector is making positive steps toward recovery from the impact of the pandemic, with job vacancies climbing 50% since the year’s lowest point in July. With 10% of all UK job vacancies now within tech, there’s an opportunity to upskill and train our next generation to fill those gaps with crucial technology-based skills.
Nonetheless, today in the UK, women account for only 31% of all tech jobs—which means the percentage of those specifically in computing roles is even smaller than that. With this statistic in mind, there’s a real opportunity to create programs—like AWS GetIT—that will motivate and support the next generation of girls to become tech innovators and leaders.
AWS GetIT – Initiatives that inspire
AWS GetIT is designed to introduce secondary school students, particularly girls, aged 12 and 13 to cloud computing and digital skills to inspire them to consider a career in technology. Since launching in the UK in 2018, the program has captured the imagination of thousands of students from hundreds of schools across the country. This year, we also introduced the program in Ireland for the first time.
AWS GetIT invites teams from different schools to take part in an interschool app design competition to solve a real issue faced by their school or community. Students attend an AWS GetIT Bootcamp, where they learn about the different stages of developing software, including how to identify a target audience for their application, problem solving, brainstorming and research techniques, prototyping, and testing and development. The students also learn about Amazon’s working backwards approach to innovation and get guidance from female leaders at AWS—AWS GetIT ambassadors and volunteers—who host and mentor students during the bootcamps and provide support, feedback, and guidance on developing their application ideas in a fun and collaborative environment.
From here, each school enters up to two ideas into the competition. AWS shortlists 10 teams to present their ideas to an expert panel of judges, who select a winning team and present them with their prize—the opportunity to work directly with AWS teams for a day to workshop how they would bring their app idea to life.
The program also introduces students to the variety of roles available in technology to give them a sense of the different types of career paths, help them imagine what working in tech might be like, and help them learn about the positive impact that women are having in the industry.
Meet the 2021 winners
This year’s UK winners were from St. James Academy in Dudley. Team members Jaishmeet, Roha, Rhys, McKayla, Sara, and Adiele created an app idea called NuU to connect people and provide support for mental health issues.
Jaishmeet, one of the students on the winning team, said that she loved being part of AWS GetIT: “It allowed me to understand what working as part of a team is like, how to present professionally, and I also gained self-confidence by presenting to different audiences. The experience definitely inspired me to consider a career in tech.”
St. Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls in Carshalton, South London, was awarded the runner-up prize for their app North Star. The personal safety app is designed to keep young people and teenagers safe when traveling alone, with an emphasis on making it fun and easy to understand.
Building skills for the future
Cloud computing is one of the most significant technological advances of our time, and it has become vital for businesses in the UK and Ireland. With demand expected to grow consistently, initiatives like AWS GetIT can help address this gap.
If the UK and Ireland are to realize the true potential of cloud computing, it’s crucial to bolster the tech talent pipeline and create new career opportunities for all. Our leaders of tomorrow are the students of today.
As team member Alyssa from St. Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls in Carshalton explained: “This opportunity opened our eyes to the vast range of roles in technology, especially for girls, and has inspired us to think about how we can use the skills we developed to help other people through innovation.”
You can learn how your school can get involved in the 2021–2022 program on the AWS GetIT website.
Originally published on FE News