UTC Reading: Students solve real world IT problems

Craig Parker
By , - Reshaping BusinessEducation
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You may remember that at the end of January we announced an exciting new partnership with University Technical College (UTC) Reading – an education establishment built to provide students with a more technical, real-world background in their chosen field.

With a specialism in Computer Science and Engineering, UTC Reading has a requirement for a sophisticated ICT infrastructure, above and beyond the levels of most schools and colleges. Part of that is back-end – ensuring the college’s own IT infrastructure runs smoothly.

But students are hungry to learn how this kit works, too.

Last week, as part of our ongoing partnership, I headed to the College to challenge students with exactly the kind of IT problem they’re likely to be presented with when they enter the world of work.

The brief was as follows. A small company – John & Co – is struggling to keep control of its data and how it is stored. Employees are saving multiple copies of files to personal desktops, emailing them back and forth or uploading them to external hosting sites such as Dropbox.

Clearly, this won’t do. John, the MD of John & Co, needs a way to ensure his company’s data is secure, centrally located and shareable.

To help them, we brought along several different models of Fujitsu’s CELVIN Network Attached Storage (NAS) – a device more than capable of handling John and Co’s storage needs.

We then taught a group of 32 year ten students not only the product’s features but also how to set up new users, configure usergroups, share files, set user rights and check data transfer speeds.

Finally, teams were given an hour to write up their project as a business plan, as we mentored and guided them through the benefits of CELVIN NAS technology to a small business such as John & Co. Within their teams, students then had to deliver a short business presentation, using everything they’d learned to give a recommendation to John and Co as to how to purchase and configure the right IT solution for John’s business.

The team that delivered the best presentation was rewarded with Fujitsu goodies – and the chance to appear on the Fujitsu website as a case study of the work we’re doing with the college.

The day required students to hone a number of skills – from working successfully in a team, learning about a new technology and its benefits, to writing an engaging presentation. Most importantly for students, the work that day went towards their BTEC qualification.

Though I had to judge and pick one winning team, I was hugely impressed with all the presentations; if this is the future of IT talent in the UK, we’re in safe hands.

And our work doesn’t end there – next month, 20 students from UTC Reading will be visiting our Fujitsu Labs in West London to see how this technology is developed.

If you’d like to hear more about Fujitsu’s work with UTC Reading, watch this interview with Jo Harper, Principal of the college. In the video, I talk to Jo about what the partnership means for her, the college and its students.

 

 

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