The Tech Partnership

Student in class

If you’re a volunteer, a teacher, a parent, a CSR manager in a company – or just someone who cares about this subject – please let us know your views.

What difference can volunteering in schools really make?

28.06.2017

What difference can volunteering in schools really make?

28.06.2017

Over the next six months, the Tech Partnership - with the support of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) - will be undertaking a study of the extent and impact of volunteering in schools by tech professionals. 

Carrie-Anne Cremin graduated from the University of the West of England in 2016, with first class honours in the Tech Partnership’s ITMB degree. On graduation, she accepted a place on a Microsoft graduate programme, but before starting she took a gap year.

Carrie-Anne decided to spend part of her year as a TechFuture Ambassador – one of the 1,200 tech and digital professionals from across the sector who volunteer their time in schools to inspire young people about the exciting career opportunities in tech.

She approached her old secondary school in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and arranged to talk to groups of students in years 9, 10 and 11 about her route to university and on into technology as a career. “I hoped to open their eyes to the wider world”, explained Carrie-Anne. “Pembrokeshire is beautiful, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have the luxury of being surrounded by the large tech companies, so I wanted to emphasise that there are all kinds of opportunities if you’re prepared to widen your horizons.”

Volunteers like Carrie-Anne play an important role, because the UK faces a massive digital skills challenge: it’s estimated the UK needs 1.4 million new tech and digital professionals over the next decade to fulfil demand, but too few young people are choosing tech careers. It continues to be especially challenging to attract girls into tech, with only 16% of all tech specialists being female - a number that hasn’t changed in ten years.

Over the next six months, the Tech Partnership - with the support of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) - will be undertaking a study of the extent and impact of volunteering in schools by tech professionals. 

We’ll be looking to:

  • Map the landscape across the UK for industry volunteering to help school students learn tech skills and find out about tech careers
  • Explore different approaches and different models, particularly in terms of the recruitment of volunteers, engagement with schools and colleges, and the sustainability of programmes
  • Assess the impact of volunteering and provide examples of best practice.

We’ll be undertaking an online survey, conducting interviews and casting a wide research net to capture existing practice and initiatives, and will publish our findings when complete.

If you’re a volunteer, a teacher, a parent, a CSR manager in a company – or just someone who cares about this subject – please let us know your views by contacting us at helpdesk@techfuture.com or by tweeting, using the hashtag #TechFutureAmbassadors.