Published on in EducationResponsible Business

It’s well-established that the UK and Ireland is challenged with the digital skills gap.

Addressing this is not only critical for the prospects of young people across the country, but for the prospects of our businesses and economies.

We recently launched our Operation Innovation competition in UK and Ireland. Now in its second year, Operation Innovation seeks to help close the gap between education and employment when it comes to digital skills.

The competition

The competition brings together students aged 16 and above from 15 education institutions. They will compete by developing their own proof of value proposals, with the aim of solving a real-world problem by using digital technologies.

This year the focus will be on internet of things (IoT) technology. The problem to be addressed can sit within one of three sectors: education, construction or manufacturing – all industries in which IoT is already beginning to have an impact. Or, the student teams can opt to select their own sector, supported by clear market research.

Held in an inspiring setting, the final will take place at the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park. The winning team will have the opportunity to pitch their proposal at the Fujitsu Forum event in Munich later this year.

The event brings together thousands of European customers and partners. It’s a valuable opportunity for the students to attend inspirational keynote presentations, break-outs addressing the biggest technology challenges we face, and expert talks, as well as see cutting edge technology in action.

Building on previous success

The standard is high. Last year, students from Watford University Technical College walked away victorious with their innovative ‘BioBand’ concept. The runners-up were the student teams from City College Coventry and London Design Engineering UTC, who were offered work experience placements for their places in the top three.

After the success of last year’s competition, we’re thrilled to be able to give young people the opportunity to explore how technologies such as IoT can be used to solve some of the world’s toughest social problems.

Valuable experience

Seeing what the students are able to come up with is a breath of fresh air and a testament to the value young people can offer in helping shape the way our industries embrace digital.

It’s important young people feel they have a voice in the business world, and we believe working with industry partners will help educators achieve that.

As well as providing experience with a UK business operating in the technology space, students’ confidence can grow as they interact with industry professionals, learn to work as a team and develop presentation skills.

We’re proud of the Operation Innovation competition, and can’t wait to see the students push their skills to the limit in developing innovative IoT concepts.


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