Future Skills for I.T. – Dungannon 2020

22nd July 2020

On Friday 7th of February 2020, Bring IT On welcomed 90 School Students, 15 Teachers and 18 Employer Representatives to the Junction in Dungannon. The event kicked off with the girls engaging with employer representatives at stalls displaying their work in the IT sector, followed by a warm breakfast and introduction from our compere Susan McCambridge from Belfast Metropolitan College.

Next we welcomed our keynote speaker; Janette McQuillan, lead Data Scientist with Deep Labs, a global organisation of experts in artificial intelligence (AI) who’s unique persona-based AI enables businesses to solve complex problems and continuously assess risk in real time. In Janette’s role, she develops innovative digital products that help accelerate cancer research as well as analytics solutions for global clients within the life sciences, retail banking, fuel, telecommunications and beauty industries, enabling them to leverage their data to unlock invaluable business insights. Janette’s keynote speech was a real revelation for everyone at the event as they gained an insight into a role they had never heard of before.

Following on from our fantastic keynote speech we simultaneously delivered three engaging and energetic workshops, rotating our students so that they could benefit from all of the valuable advice and insights on offer. Gemma Roberts and Juliann Deegan, IT Digital Recruiters from Hays delivered a presentation based around Women in Technology providing relatable examples and valuable insights into the opportunities in the IT sector in Northern Ireland.

“I really enjoyed the Dungannon Girls Event in Dungannon.  I was really interested in everything I heard and saw and all the female industry representatives were so interesting and inspiring to listen to.  It really made me think about keeping on ICT for GCSE.  It gave me so much information about the different jobs in the IT industry.  Thank you so much for organising this event for us” – Ella – a pupil at St. Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley

Next the girls moved onto a ‘speed networking’ style workshop where they had the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with IT Role Models from companies such as; the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Vertical Structure, EY, Signifyd, PwC, and Deloitte. Giving the students the opportunity to speak to multiple people in different careers and from different backgrounds was a huge success;

‘I found the bring I.T. on event very interesting, I loved being able to go round all the individual tables and finding out about what they do and what their jobs consist of. It was interesting to find out about all the jobs in the IT industry and about how much every individual job pays. This programme answered lots of my questions regarding doing Digital technology for GCSE and I am going to, knowing all the information I do now.’ – Katie Campbell – a pupil at Aughnacloy College

Meanwhile, Siobhan Mulvenna from Belfast Met was facilitating an engaging and inspiring workshop based around the importance of believing in yourself. Siobhan’s workshop aimed to instil confidence and self-belief in the attendees and for them to leave with the message that they could be the future tech stars of Northern Ireland.

“Every session was really useful and the day was divided up really well to hold all the students attention.

 The first session, which we attended, was ‘Believe in yourself’ the session was excellent to encourage the girls to ask questions to the employers and to engage in the presentation from Hays. I would love to use the presentation, which we saw with other students in my school, as I noticed a difference in the girls’ confidence.  – Mairead McMahon, Teacher at Newbridge College

We finished off the day with a closing speech from our compere Susan McCambridge, one lucky student from St Joseph’s Grammar School, Donaghmore won an Amazon Alexa and all of the girls left with a free lunch and a better insight into the world of IT.

The event was a huge success and we have been overwhelmed with the demand for tickets as well as the feedback from employers, students and teachers with Catherine O’Gorman, a teacher from St Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley summing the event up;

“A very informative event with a range of companies to provide insight into IT and the working world. Very well organised and structured with a number of inspirational speakers. The pupils left the event feeling well informed about the IT industry and ready to make their future GCSE choices”.

Check out our Facebook page for all of the pictures from this event: