Rising Stars at Camp Digital

By Hilary Stephenson | 04/06/2019

5 people walking

Recognising and valuing new and young talent is something Sigma has always felt strongly about. Our sponsored Rising Stars initiative for our digital design conference, Camp Digital, is one of the many ways we like to support the next generation.

The Rising Stars initiative gives 70 North West students the opportunity to attend Camp Digital for free. We started doing this because we value the connections between industry and education, having formed partnerships with MMU, UCLAN, Manchester Digital and Salford University, over the years.

The initiative is kindly sponsored by Barclays this year and we’re delighted to have their Digital Accessibility team joining us at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, on 12th June. Curt Holst, Senior Digital Accessibility Consultant at Barclays, will also be sharing some insights on Barclays’ journey of re-imagining what accessibility is and why it matters.

“We believe the Rising Stars initiative allows students to get a broad view of what digital design means, as the event touches on subjects including ethics, privacy, design intent and inclusion. It’s also an opportunity for them to make connections with mentors, employers and people with a broad range of real world industry experience. By removing the financial barrier and creating a welcoming and relaxed environment, this is a fantastic chance for attendees to find out about career prospects in a highly rewarding and progressive sector.” – Curt Holst, Barclays

We’re particularly proud of the annual support and attendance from MMU since the event first started in 2012. Rich Eskins, Course Leader for the BSc Web Development, reflected:

“Camp Digital has become an essential part of our calendar. Each year we take up the kind offer of free student tickets, taking a mix of students from various courses around MMU. By the very fact that students apply for these tickets means they understand the importance of this opportunity. We help the students make the most of the day, including making sure they ‘just happen’ to have a CV to hand. Just in case.

Every year students tell us how good the whole experience has been. They are always positive. I particularly like the after party, which gives us a chance to socialise with the students and get to know them so much better than our day to day environment allows. And increasingly we also get to chat to former students now working in industry and attending with their employers.” - Rick Eskins, MMU

For this year’s Camp Digital, we have included students and educators taking part in Digital Futures, a programme delivered by Manchester Digital and funded by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Interestingly, seventy-five percent of Manchester Digital’s members feel industry is not involved enough in education to ensure young people are equipped for a tech career. Four in ten teachers said they are not confident delivering the computer science curriculum. We have invited students and teachers from Digital Futures to Camp Digital to help bridge this gap:

“Developing digital talent of the future is incredibly important to our industry. Camp Digital's Rising Stars programme is essential to support and enable a diversity of future talent to have the necessary exposure to future employers and build that essential knowledge and connections. We are delighted that they have extended this support to our Digital Futures programme.

This is an excellent opportunity for both the educators’ professional development and young people considering careers in digital and technology to get a real insight into working in and with tech, by taking part in the industry specialist event.” - Emma Grant, Talent and Skills Manager for Manchester Digital

Are you interested in meeting the next generation of talent and hearing speakers from the likes of NHS Digital and the BBC? We’d love to see you there, so head on over to the Camp Digital website and see what the day can offer you.