21 Digital’s Technical Director and Blackburn web designer, Michael Cain, has been back to the classroom this month, lending his expertise to computing students as part of an initiative to attract more young people into the digital industry.
On October, 10th, Westholme School in Blackburn welcomed Michael as part of Digital Day (“D-Day”), a nationwide event created by the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) as a way of attracting and nurturing future digital talent.
This year’s D-Day saw 4,000 pupils from 100 schools across the country spending time with digital professionals like Michael and getting a taste of what agency life is really like.
Michael delivered a presentation on life in the digital industry before leading the class through a number of interactive challenges covering digital design, mobile apps, social media and web development.
As 21 Digital’s digital agency Mentor, Michael designed the challenges not only to introduce students to some essential digital marketing skills, but to demonstrate the importance of transferable skills including creative decision making, team work and project management.
Students worked in teams of four to design and plan a digital project. Two of the teams opted for a new mobile phone app, while the other two decided to set up social media campaigns for the launches of new fashion brands.
The teams came up with some great ideas, including an app to stop “tipsy texts” being sent (apparently a vital addition to many young professionals’ lives!), and another to help users plan and maintain a healthy, varied diet.
When it came to the social media marketing teams, the two groups plumped for different target markets: young, fashion-savvy students with minimal spending power vs. fashion-conscious mums-to-be.
Both campaigns showed great awareness of how social proof including celebrity endorsement can be leveraged on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to promote brands.
“It’s great to be supporting such a brilliant initiative. The UK industry, both nationally and regionally needs to inspire the next generation of school children to consider digital as one of the most dynamic and rewarding career paths that they can take.”
The best projects created across the country on Digital Day will be submitted to the BIMA award panel, with a number of prizes available to projects that capture the judge’s imaginations.
The overall winner will be selected to receive the Grand Prix, which last year went to a team from Dr Challoner’s Grammar School (Bucks) for its Yappy Dog idea: an app and website designed to help dog owners plan walks based on the weight, breed and age of the family pet.
Only time will tell whether Westholme School in Blackburn is home to any future digital gurus but we think they did brilliantly and wish them the best of luck.