By Jaipriya Kaur Rai
The World Skills Show is the UK’s largest careers event – and I was lucky enough to be there with Microsoft.
The one-stop-shop for jobs, held in Birmingham recently, aims to be an interactive aid for youngsters who are considering what they would like to do in the future.
There were numerous exhibitors at the event across various industries, including floristry, manufacturing, hairdressing, media and technology.
Microsoft joined the BBC on their stand, which featured expert careers advisors, interactive activities, live performances and guest speakers.
With only 6% of UK students graduating from university with computer science degrees, the World Skills Show is a great opportunity to get youngsters interested in a career in technology. Many girls schools also attended the event, which was great to see considering only 25% of workers in the technology sector are female.
As a Microsoft intern, I helped to train 300 students how to code using the BBC Micro:bit. Most of the youngsters said they were enjoying coding at school, using either Scratch or the Micro:bit, as they were “learning to program cool things”.
We also talked to the students, and their teachers and parents on our apprentice/intern experiences. This led to 123 interested students signing up to receive further information on careers in technology. A key learning from these discussions was that students were not aware of the shortage in technical skills and the opportunities available to them in major firms.
We were often asked what it was like to work at Microsoft as well as the types of apprenticeships the company offered and how to apply.
It was great for me to be able to inspire the students with my experiences, and advise them on how they could work towards pursuing their interest in technology. It was also a useful learning opportunity for us to find out what information students wanted on careers in technology, so that we can ensure we offer the best advice.
Jaipriya Kaur Rai is an intern at Microsoft UK