Inspiring future tech professionals with our Workplace Safari

Inspiring future tech professionals with our Workplace Safari

Content+Cloud recently hosted a Workplace Safari in association with the Greater Manchester Apprenticeship and Careers Service (GMACS), offering 12 students from Salford City College Group the chance to experience life working in our industry. The event is part of an initiative to address the tech skills gap across the Greater Manchester region and Content+Cloud was the first Microsoft partner to lend its support. So, what did we learn – students and professionals alike?


Workplace Safaris build career pathways

Meet Your Future, the organisation behind Workplace Safaris, was launched in 2019 by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, with the aim of helping young people experience the world of work.

Engaging with professionals and exploring a variety of business environments is crucial for school leavers, with research showing that young people who have four or more encounters with employers are 86% less likely to be unemployed or not in any form of employment training when they leave school or college.

With our Workplace Safari, we wanted to give young people the chance to imagine their futures in the tech sector and to get a feel for what Content+Cloud would be like as a possible employer.

Content+Cloud’s CEO Geoff Kneen is a strong advocate for an engaging and inclusive career pathways programme, having affirmed our commitment to building a better future for young people at the conclusion of National Apprenticeship Week 2023.

“joining apprenticeship schemes in the UK last year actually fell and youth unemployment increased, as did the digital skills gap. With the tech industry still forecast for growth this year I encourage all in the industry to play their part in establishing strong early year career pathways,” said Geoff.

In welcoming Salford City College Group to our Manchester office in conjunction with GMACS, we gave the students the chance to meet and engage with our people, learn about the incredible growth in the technology sector and discover the career opportunities that exist within the industry.

Summing up the purpose of the event, Steve Chalkley, Content+Cloud’s Head of Procurement, described it as an opportunity to “break down barriers to see that there are routes into technology, and that those routes can be incredibly local”.


Addressing the tech skills gap by inspiring the future

One of the greatest benefits of the day was the opportunity afforded to the students to network with industry professionals, discovering the routes that led them to the sector and gaining insights into the day-to-day realities of working in tech.

The students got to hear from professionals from across the business, learning about the core functions that Content+Cloud provides. Introductions to sales, marketing, research and development, human resources and finance were offered throughout the day, with Q&As allowing the group to get to grips with their own career-bases queries.

The students also had the opportunity to meet Du-aine, a current Content+Cloud apprentice, and quiz him on his experiences with the organisation.


Technology futures with AI

In a direct nod to one of the most controversial and widely discussed tech topics around the world, the group also engaged with artificial intelligence, working with ChatGPT to create a presentation from scratch. Having enjoyed their challenge, the students were challenged to consider how AI may impact and influence the future of the technology industry.

The impact on the group was immediate, with some considering a career in tech for the first time.

“I came today to understand a professional career in IT and what it involves,” said one student.

“This environment gave me a more realistic sense of the work environment and what life after an apprenticeship or college would actually be like,” said another.


Combating the skills gap: a bright future for tech

In summing up the success of our first Workplace Safari, Nick Isherwood reflected on the exciting nature of the face-to-face event and what it achieved.

“Who needs a crystal ball to see what the future of our business looks like when you can meet it,” he said.

“These students have been thinking about their own careers, whether they are going down the apprentice or degree route, and we have been able to understand what is important to them and what kinds of roles they’re looking for.

“I think from the student’s perspective, they’ve understood a lot more about what makes a technology business tick.

“It’s been a great experience for our team and cemented how important it is for the tech industry to get behind apprenticeships,” he concluded.

Stephen Bewick, Work Experience and Employability Coordinator at Salford City College Group, was delighted with the results of the event.

“This is the first opportunity for our students to be with an employer in their business location,” he commented.

“Our digital got a fantastic insight into Content+Cloud’s business and some individual roles, how they work Microsoft to deliver transformational tech services to clients and how they themselves could get started in the fast-paced tech sector.”


The Microsoft Partner Pledge: improving the world for everyone

As a longstanding Microsoft partner, we know our relationship is about more than our capabilities. It’s also about our shared commitment to improving our world for everyone.

With unemployment and the digital skills gap worsening within minority groups and in underprivileged areas, it is our duty to encourage and support not just our own workforce, but the world around us as well.

We’re proud signatories of the Microsoft partner pledge, a rallying point for businesses sharing Microsoft’s values to make more possible for people, industry and society as a whole.

Two of the core ideals of the pledge, to grow to talent in our industry and to enhance diversity and inclusion, are connected strongly to the impact that Workplace Safaris can have on young people about to enter the workforce. We want to make a growing and exciting professional sector more approachable and attainable for all, regardless of experience or background.

These goals sit squarely behind the third ideal of the Partner Pledge, namely to shape a desirable world.


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