In mid-November, students, teachers and parents gathered at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, England, for the annual three-day Skills Show. More than 75,000 people explored careers ranging from bricklaying to makeup artistry, learning what is involved and how to get started.
CompTIA hosted five interactive activities, put on by various organizations, to get young people excited about careers in IT:
- Bletchley Park and Intel ran a security demonstration, where attendees were given personal information that’s commonly found on social media, such as birthdays and family information, and asked to decode the person’s password.
- Oracle had students program a robot to do certain actions. Another nearby robot then mirrored the commands given to the first robot.
- Volume Global showed how businesses use virtual reality, such as to provide product information, greet customers or conduct new employee orientation. Pepper, the robot that works the Volume Global reception desk, also attended.
- Vanti demonstrated how to set up and control audio visual equipment for lighting and sound as well as the StageMaster control desk program.
- CompTIA’s Smileometer used artificial intelligence to rank people’s smiles.
But what drew people to CompTIA’s booth in droves were our efforts to #MakeTechHerStory. They loved posing for photos in our Rosie the Riveter cutout, and we handed out 900 bandanas, which were worn by girls and boys throughout the event.
On November 17, the first day, young students and teachers had lots of questions about what IT professionals do and what IT jobs look like. We held a spotlight talk about the connection between robotics and other technologies, such as networking and storage, and Pepper helped present the slides, which everybody loved.
On day two, older students who had already begun taking computer courses asked for information about how to get a career in IT. We talked to them about what to look for in courses, where certifications could take them, their next steps to pursuing a career and resources that can help along the way.
Finally, on day three, students who were unsure about what careers to pursue learned from advisors how apprenticeships can help them get a firsthand look at new opportunities. Apprenticeships will continue to grow over the coming years and change the way young people find jobs, so it was great to connect parents and students with these experts to learn more.
Along with the information fair, the Skills Show included the WorldSkills UK Finals competition, where candidates were given a task related to their area of expertise, including IT support technician and network systems administrator. Event attendees watched the competition throughout the three days. Ellis Meades-Woolley from Highbury College, Portsmouth — a CompTIA Authorized Partner — won first place in the IT Support Technician Competition!
Congratulations, Ellis, and thank you to everyone who visited us at the Skills Show! If you were there, let us know what you liked best!