Covid-19 has created real disruption within Education. The most obvious shift has been the drastically increased use of Teams, Zoom, and similar to deliver virtual classroom teaching. But one of the less noticeable consequences of Covid-19 is that students are isolated from opportunities to engage with employers, gain work experience, and develop key future skills.
Disruption to the Education Sector
Operation Innovation was originally established to make Fujitsu’s technical expertise more accessible to the next generation of bright minds, and co-create the next big technology innovation. But this year, it has taken on extra significance as a way to provide crucial project based learning opportunities and tech industry contact – virtually.
Virtual Industry Engagement
During the competition, Fujitsu support teams of four students from our Education Ambassador Partner institutions to create a prototype idea for an inventive new technology solution. The finalists ultimately present this Proof of Concept “Dragon’s Den” style to an expert Fujitsu panel (through Microsoft Teams) – with one team being crowned the 2020 winner.
For 2020, we have challenged the learners to tackle a problem in the increasingly hard-pressed Healthcare or Education sectors. We have selected these topics in particular this year as human-centric innovation is an incredibly important part of Fujitsu’s Technology and Service Vision – it’s vital that we use our collective expertise to tackle society’s biggest challenges. Students will also need to apply AI and robotics concepts as part of the challenge, taking inspiration from exciting recent use-cases.
Developing Digital Skills
As part of the programme, the Fujitsu Education team deliver “Tech and Business 101” workshops, giving some of the 16 year-old students their first insight into working for a leading IT organisation, and unique practical skills and experience that will enrich their applications to specialist jobs, apprenticeships, or further education. Project based learning such as this gives students a much richer interaction with curriculum beyond the textbook.
The programme will run from September to November with over 17 colleges and UTCs from across the UK participating. The finals will take place on December 7th 2020, where the winning team will be crowned and receive state of the art Fujitsu LIFEBOOK devices to aid their future study.
I am delighted to be leading the management of the competition this year. Having completed two years on the Fujitsu Graduate scheme and drawing on my previous teaching experience, I am incredibly enthusiastic about delivering a programme that really benefits students during this difficult time. It has been fantastic to see so much competitive spirit from our Education Ambassadors already – I very much look forward to reviewing the phenomenally creative ideas that the learners will submit this year.
Bronwyn O’Neill, Operation Innovation Lead 2020
The education system has evolved almost beyond recognition in the past few decades, and we’ve seen tremendous change and turbulence during the pandemic. It is essential we recognise the important role of technology in solving the education challenges we face in society today – and continue to inspire and invest in the next generation of leaders and innovators.
Operation Innovation arms students with the digital skills and knowledge that will help them excel in the future. As well as technical know-how, we also help develop softer abilities such as teamwork and presentation skills – which will give them a massive head start as they enter the working world. It’s a fantastic and rare opportunity for all entering the competition to gain the kind of learning only possible when education and industry come together in this way.
Ash Merchant, Education Director, Fujitsu Products UK&I
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