Following our fantastic digital skills event in Glasgow, we attended #NextGenSkills Birmingham Re-worked yesterday at Millennium Point, Birmingham.

Working with Birmingham City Council and Digital Birmingham, the aim of this event was to invest in Birmingham’s younger generation to create a brighter future for the young people of Birmingham, and put them where they want to be: the engine for the city’s future economic growth.

The day brought together a great mix of key voices (employers, strategic leaders, education providers, agencies, government, third sector and local authority) to provide debate and action around the growing skills gap and future skills needed for job creation that will support and prepare young people from education to employment, as well as develop businesses as part of a digital economy. But the most important attendees on the day had to be the young people, whose future we were there to discuss. We met some really inspiring young people from Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA), Sampad Education, Youth Television and Young Rewired State

Following Sir Albert Bore’s (leader of the Council) opening remarks the first part of the day saw some great keynotes from an inspiring mix of people. Richard Shipton, Head of UK Government Industry, spoke on behalf of Microsoft on the topic; ‘Seizing the Opportunity for Birmingham’s Citizens and Businesses’. Richard’s speech was a real eye opener and highlighted what Microsoft is already doing in Birmingham that most of the room just didn’t know about. We’re proud of our support for Birmingham and the surrounding area and the real impact we’ve already had, beyond the support of start-ups:

• 200 Microsoft partners have already taken on apprentices in the Greater Birmingham Area

• There are 11 IT Academies providing IT skills to the community ranging from Aston University to Waverley School

• Our work with NGOs in Birmingham has helped skill over 6.000 unemployed people in the last 3 years

• 30 students from Shireland Collegiate Academy recently attended a Get inspired day at our Reading Campus to get an understanding of the IT industry and work on a Kodu Kup challenge

• Through our partnership with UK Youth, working with the IT Youth centres in nearby Tipton and Leamington Spa, we have helped to skill over 400 youths

• We have donated over £1.5m in software to 172 charities within the Birmingham area many of which help support IT and broader work skills

• And our partnership with the nearby Black Country helped train and skill over 35,000 people in the region over three years.

In keeping with the previous blog from our Glasgow event, we intended to write a summary of the day, through the days Tweets, however, this was completely surpassed by the most inspiring and passionate moment of the day. One of the BOA’s incredibly talented young students, Amerah Saleh, a spoken word artist, closed the day with her concise and creative round up of the days key points through the ‘hash tags’ #doitdigitally and #nextgenskills. We believe she summed up the day beautifully.

Being invited to the hashtag NextGenSkills has been a real eye opener, its teaching us the core.

“100 apprenticeships in 100 days launched tomorrow” said Sir Albert Bore.

Rick asked “how do we teach young people to be adaptable?” Using digital media hashtag twitter has made it intractable.

“Schools can’t possibly teach young people to the rate of change”

“We need to give our young people REAL work experience…” that’s what youth television is all about – Hash tag, shout out.

Organisations’ communicating together is key, as a young person what do you do for us? - Hash tag, show me.

“Birmingham has the most dynamic young people” - Hash tag, I totally agree!

“Would have been great to see more young people involved with the debate and presenting...” - Hash tag, round two?

Connections are made through conversations and the best conversations happen at conferences exactly like this!

“E-SKILLS built a university course that had 100% employability to all students that attended the course.” – Hash tag, we need more of this.

And this ended the morning session on how young people are the future; I am the voice of the hundreds hanging around, not knowing what’s going on, outside.

TIP: let’s bring these worlds together – Hash tag, let’s collide

“Industries need to provide an active presence within our schools” – Hash tag, they certainly do!

“We have become product focused instead of being process and people focused” Karen completely agrees- Hash tag, woeful

“Big question, as a young person, when is this change going to happen? We are all happy to talk about it” – Hash tag, action needs to be taken.

“How do you get employers to be adaptable and recognise how to use new skills?” – Hash tag, B-BAC

So I end this with thanking everyone for making this possible. Thanking speakers, Millennium Point and all of you.

Hope restored? Hash tag, time to make it happen.

@voiceofthepoets

www.facebook.com/amerahsalehpoetry