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Future jobs insight for computer scientists

Posted: 04 May 2023

Guests from the world of digital, creative and IT careers brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the computer science curriculum at West Nottinghamshire College, to help showcase the diversity of job roles within the sector.

A specialist employability event, organised by tutors and support staff over three days, enabled those studying on programmes such as IT networking and architecture, digital technician, interactive media, coding and logic, to discover more about the various roles in the sector and to learn about some of the hidden job roles with this diverse industry.

The first guests to impress were Jack Page and Arron Cuttriss, Think Big co-ordinators from Nottingham Forest Community Trust – the official charity of Nottingham Forest Football Club. This charitable arm of the football club supports people and organisations within the area through private, public and third sector partnerships.

Jack and Arron brought along the club’s European Cup which Nottingham Forest won in 1979. They spoke to students about apprenticeships and various other roles in technology that the community trust offers.

Computer scientists welcomed ex-student Will Burton, to speak about his role at well-known, Mansfield-based creative marketing company, Linney.  Will, who studied in computer science last year, now works as a junior software developer.

Colleagues Will Barton and Jack Johnson, both software developers, joined Will to highlight the wealth of IT roles at Linney and what the company does. As one of the largest independent employers in the area, they showcased the wealth of roles within IT and design.

Will said: “Coming back into the college is really good. It’s been great to hear students’ experiences and I’ve been able to feedback to current students what I learnt on my course. It’s been good to hear students’ questions today about future opportunities within the business and the kind of projects that we work on.”

Craig Sweeting, the head of support at Worktribe, which designs software for universities across the UK, attended the careers and employability event to outline the range of departments which make Worktribe a success, including development, support and quality assurance, partnership, and sales. Students were made aware of the many roles which companies such as this will require in the IT and technical areas.

Leigh Warsop and Dave Tugby from Currys’ main distribution centre in Newark, discussed their roles and the opportunities at the site. Apprenticeships available to study on at the national repair centre are driving apprenticeship, white goods engineer apprenticeship and gas engineer apprenticeship. The Level 3 repair technician apprenticeship is the course which both Leigh and Dave manage and run and currently has 24 apprentices studying.

The subject of using AI in the business world and how AI can help to advance digital marketing was brought into the discussion forum by Olly Mooney from Mansfield-based Dijitul.

Dijitul, which employs two West Notts College apprentices, is headed up by Olly. Olly said: “I love nothing better than helping businesses to solve problems through a range of solutions, helping them to save money.”             

Claire Garner, digital training and development manager at Nottinghamshire Health Informatics Service, spoke about the breadth of work placements in various areas of health service which students can take advantage of. Care 4 Notts is just one of the sectors. Claire helped students to think about their interview techniques and how to present themselves in an interview situation.

Cyber security was debated thanks to Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ cyber security manager Paul Richards.

Paul explained the need for the NHS to provide assurances to all patients that their health records are safe. Cyber security helps to combat hacking where groups can obtain personal data and sell on the black market. Health records sell for a high value. Paul explained his team’s job in ensuring hospital electronic data is secure.

Node4’s head of talent acquisition Samantha Hibbert and talent acquisition specialist Coral Febrero, spoke about career opportunities at the company. They spoke about multi-national opportunities such as placements in Dubai and employee benefits that the company offers. They discussed the support that new starters get and invited students to apply for work placements.

Node4 was established in 2004 in Derby to deliver IT and technical solutions to customers. Now it operates data centres all over the country and its portfolio of digital solutions has expanded.

On the final day, Frasers Group’s Rachel Schofield and Alex Tosney presented the outline of the group, which owns Sports Direct, Flannels, Jack Wills and Game amongst many other brands. They work from the main headquarters based in Shirebrook.

The duo spoke about the many areas of IT within Frasers Group including software development, cloud and infrastructure, IT security, data analysis, networks, technology enablement and test engineering. Students were able to ask more about the company which spans six countries over nine locations, employing people in a mix of hybrid and remote roles.

Alex outlined the key attributes that job applicants must display such as an interest in technology, work experience in any field and a very engaging personal statement.

Vocational learner development coach for academic, creative, community and digital and professional studies, Paula Hyde, said: “We’ve been fortunate to have so many different speakers in from the industry. Our groups have heard about everything from work placement opportunities, how to prepare for interviews, working within cyber security and project management and the many career pathways within technology.

“Hopefully this week has encouraged students to not necessarily look for jobs locally but be confident to look further afield and to think broader in terms of how diverse careers can be within this exciting sector.”

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