What is BRLSI?
I have been volunteering at the BRLSI youth activities as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) ambassador for over two years, and I heard of an opportunity that would allow me to help more than give up my Saturday afternoons.
BRLSI were after a way to enhance the children’s recording of the experiments by using tablet PCs. Being in IT, I thought to myself, a problem to solve as most IT professionals are problem solvers first, and IT is just our tool to accomplish that goal.
I looked around and found a decent android tablet which would do what they needed, but just handing over a load of new devices would not be particularly helpful.
With a few calls and contact at Mappfia, I talked through what we wanted to achieve, what the current method of recording experiments involved and how we could go about delivering a helpful app that would get the children to engage more with the process of recording what they think will happen, what happens and why it happens in that way.
With the bonus of being able to take pictures of the apparatus used and how everything was set up, the initial trial has been a good learning exercise for both the children and us as to how we all learn and interact with technology and problem-solving in STEM subjects.
How did we contribute to BRLSI Youth Activities?
Everyone has read about the shortage of IT and STEM professionals in the industry today and that it will only worsen over the next five years if we do not tackle it now. Most people fall into jobs that they did not expect they would be doing.
In IT, new technologies can rise without you knowing while at school. Visualization on x64 was very new when I was doing my GCSEs. A few years ago, ‘the cloud’ would have never been heard.
By transferring our skills to the next generation at a younger age, we can help them find a career they will enjoy earlier. Imagine knowing that maths lessons teaching statistics allow you to measure marketing campaigns instead of just learning to pass an exam!
This will allow children more time to perfect their chosen skill set and give them a chance to be even better than we are.
Those IT job boards asking for three years of experience on SQL 2016 when the year is 2015 are a bit of a joke now. Still, a graduate could easily have ten years of programming experience by their 18th birthday, making the market more competitive and the industry more exciting.
Mozart could play a few instruments by the age of 5. Children of 10 frequently write mobile apps found on the top 10 most downloaded apps on app stores. Imagine having found a subject you love and having an extra ten years to learn about it.
How much further could you push yourself and your subject with that additional experience and knowledge?
Businesses should offer more resources to help those who want to learn. By doing this locally, the entire community will benefit, and all communities across the country will have some way of benefiting from this partnership.
We will certainly be looking at how much more we can help those who want to learn, get ahead and find what they want to spend their lives doing, and we will undoubtedly be looking forward to working with those that take a similar path to ourselves.
If you are in Bath or from the surrounding areas, why not check out the BRLSI youth activities?