Apprentice Dragons take the lead during e-Skills Week 2012
Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark welcomed hundreds of students, IT industry leaders, member state officials and representatives from the education community to discuss the theme, “Future Jobs and e-Skills in Europe” in Copenhagen for the official closing event of European e-Skills Week 2012.
Proving that IT can be one of the most diverse industries you can be in, the event brought forward young digital champions from eight countries who picked up awards for the European e-Skills Week Competition, plus featured an “Apprentice Dragons Den” encounter between young entrepreneurs and industry who shared ideas and challenged the status quo, as well as animated debates on digital education, how robots can be used in education, and the digital workforce of tomorrow.
Naomi Johns, an intelligent young woman of seventeen years old from Cornwall in the UK, was the rising star of the show. Naomi works for a small tech company called Aztek Technologies, she believes that more girls should get into IT: ‘I think that girls should start thinking about working in IT, we have to overcome our technical challenges’. Naomi started working with a Microsoft IT partner at the tender age of just sixteen years old through the Partner Apprenticeship programme ’Britain Works
’ and is now a fully-fledged junior technical support team member with aspirations to continue building her technical competencies and open doors to the 21 century workplace, irrespective of geographical location. With few jobs available for young people in Cornwall, outside the tourist industry, Naomi is pleased to be pursuing a career path where she isn’t forced to leave her home town and has real potential for growth. Naomi says that she understands that girls can sometimes be a little reluctant to give IT a go. She loves what she does and is eager to get a few more years’ experience under her belt before one day imagining opening her own business.
European e-Skills Week 2012: Naomi Johns from Microsoft Europe on Vimeo.
Focusing on how young people can succeed outside the formal school system through the use of ICT, e-Skills and work experience
was the inspiration for the ‘Apprentice Dragons’. The panel also featured Justin Brown, founder of www.unexus.org
, an online platform where innovators can develop trusted communities to support, implement and showcase solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. Helping people get connected with young and dynamic innovation networks today –providing support ideas – or launching new innovations. “I love the idea of helping people make their dreams real,” says Justin. “In five years from now our platform will be the global space to share and grow ideas. We believe that’s very cool.”
Karl Ots, a twenty one years old from Finland, manages research projects that pushes the boundaries of new technology. Karl points to the variety of different inventions that he is working on and encourages people to consider a career in science, technology and engineering. “I work on things that very few people work on. There are no two identical days and I work on things on the edge of technology,” Says Karl. Creating industry standards that we will come to know in a few years, Karl is one of the guys who is building the cool gadgets of tomorrow.
European e-Skills Week 2012: Karl Ots from Microsoft Europe on Vimeo.
This meeting of ambitious minds, young, and up and coming with experienced global executives from Nokia, Dell and IBM provoked some interesting insights from Klaus Holse, President, Microsoft Western Europe, who shared his experience with the Apprentice Dragons saying that working in both start-ups and corporations brought value and experience to young people to realise their potential.
Both young and experienced digital role models agreed that the IT sector is at the forefront of innovation, holds huge potential for a diverse and interesting career, can be applied to solve some of our greatest global challenges and provides a flexible, anytime, anywhere approach to work life. The campaign closed by leaving us with the message: ‘e-Skills: There is a career out there for you!’
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