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Digital leaders give students the inside-track on hi-tech careers

5th June 2015

Digital leaders converged on Barking & Dagenham College today, Friday 5 June 2015, to give students and staff the inside track on launching successful careers in the tech industry.<br><br> Russ Shaw, Founder of Tech London Advocates, was joined at the "IT Industry Speaks, BDC Listens" event by fellow tech leaders including Anthony Impey, CEO of Optimity Ltd, and Rioch Edwards-Brown, Founder of So you wanna by on TV?

"IT Industry Speaks, BDC Listens" is the latest in a series of themed industry events designed to bring together students and staff with industry leaders to explore the career opportunities that are available.

The event was led by Cathy Walsh OBE, Principal and CEO (speaking below) at Barking & Dagenham College, with Andrew Stevens, CEO at CNet Training, the global leader in training for the network infrastructure industries, taking the role of MC.

30,000 jobs

Keynote speaker Russ Shaw from Tech London Advocates (pictured below) encouraged students to appreciate the scale of the opportunity open to them in London's tech sector, saying:

"There are 30,000 jobs this week in software development and IT, but we just don't have enough people in the UK to fill them. New sectors are starting to emerge all the time - health tech, retail tech, fashion tech, sport tech and fit tech. Don't just think about your tech skills, think about the sector you are interested in.

"London is emerging as a world leader in digital and technology companies. Entrepreneurship has really taken off here in the last few years, but it's important to remember that we learn from failure. It's part of the entrepreneurial experience."

Russ urged students to remember that,

"People, networks, and connections are the heart of career development.’’

Digital Portfolio

Coral Grainger, Director of Digital Partnerships & Skills at Career College, gave this advice to students,

“It’s about developing your own digital portfolio. Today’s technology means that you can send it straight to the CEO of any company.

“Employers are looking for attitude, curiosity, interests and passion, so think about how you can demonstrate your value to their business.”


The "IT Industry Speaks, BDC Listens" event was led by Cathy Walsh OBE, Principal and CEO, at the College who added:

"Our job is to make sure that students leave this College with improved levels of confidence. Yes, you must be technically competent but it's confidence that will help you stand out to employers."

Ruth Gilbert (speaking above), CEO of Career Colleges Trust, seated next to Anthony Impey, CEO of OptimityLtd on the left and Russ Shaw, Founder of Tech London Advocates on the right added:

"Our main goal is to improve the employee prospects of young people, and we recognise Barking & Dagenham College as an educational establishment of excellence.’’

Ellen Kerr, course tutor and Manager of 2Fix Solutions a student-led IT enterprise - and the driving force behind the event - gave her reaction,

"It was fantastic to see such high calibre speakers and guests giving their time for free to inspire our students and staff. From Rush Shaw, to the tech innovator Urban Teacher, and the phenomenal digital sisters, Charlotte and Emma Robertson, it has been a wonderfully motivating experience."

On the Panel

Joining Cathy Walsh OBE and Russ Shaw at "IT Industry Speaks, BDC Listens" were:

Will Akerman, Founder and MD, MyKindaCrowd
Daniel Baker, Senior Technical Trainer
Gary Brown, Talent Management Consultant
Milady Capitan, Barking & Dagenham College student and Director of AppLink
Joe Cole, Curriculum Manager, IT, at Barking & Dagenham College
Rioch Edwards-Brown, Founder, So you wanna by on TV?
John Ewens, Head of E-Learning, Barking & Dagenham College
Ruth Gilbert, CEO, Career Colleges Trust
Coral Grainger, Director of Digital Partnerships & Skills at Career College
Ana Guimaraes, Curriculum Director, Barking & Dagenham College
Kat Hanna, Centre for London
Owen Hunnam, Founder, Ideadrop
Anthony Impey, CEO, Optimity Ltd
Jessie Johns, Barking & Dagenham College Student and Director of AppLink
Yvonne Kelly, Chief Operating Officer, Barking & Dagenham College
Matthew Phelan, Curriculum Manager, Creative Industries, Barking & Dagenham College
Charlotte Robertson and Emma Robertson, Directors, Digital Awareness UK

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