Digital transformation and cyber competitions spark debate among employers at South Event 2017

by Christina Cole, Degrees Programme Manager

Over 200 Tech Partnership degrees students met with employers at the Tech Partnership student/employer event held by CA Technologies at Ditton Manor, Datchet

The Tech Partnership student/employer South Event returned to Ditton Manor once again this Wednesday, welcoming students from 9 universities across the UK offering the Tech Partnership degree programmes. They were joined by tech industry experts and employers from 12 sponsoring organisations including Accenture, CA Technologies, Capgemini, EY, GlaxoSmithKline, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, John Lewis, Pepsico, P&G, SAS and Sopra Steria.

As well as a day of networking, skills sessions and key note speakers, students were tasked with presenting a solution to a tech problem and to propose a business model to a panel of employer judges. First year students presented creative posters to take on the task of digitally transforming small or medium enterprises. From ‘Organ Droners’ to innovative apps that enable restaurant customers to pre-order their food and pay their bill, the ideas sparked much debate between the panel of industry experts that were to decide a winning university.

Reflecting on the competition entries, lead judge Jonathan White, Early Professionals Manager at IBM, said: “We were really impressed by what we saw today. The thought and effort that had gone into each entry was superb and all the students showed great knowledge in emerging technology and how they could change industries with their creative ideas. All the proposals sparked a lively discussion amongst the judges, with some being debated in depth through lunchtime and beyond.”

Meanwhile, second and final years and ITMB Master’s students took on a cyber challenge that would tackle cyber threats in an organisation or industry of their choice. Leading that competition was the director of Information of Risk Management and Privacy at Air Product, Shash Patel, a lead employer of the Tech Partnership’s degree programmes.

“Today’s competition entries around cyber security produced some thought provoking ideas for such a topical area in across all businesses. The winning ideas could create competition for cyber security vendors and one team even brought a working prototype that they had programmed themselves and presented to us today. I have been to many of these events since these degrees were created and the quality and confidence of the students is inspiring to see,” said Shash.

Congratulations to Queen Mary, University of London and Loughborough University for winning the top prizes of £500 each and the Tech Partnership trophies. Special commendation went to Hertfordshire University for their entries, plus a spot prize from GlaxoSmithKline went to Queen Mary, University of London student Fillipo Piggici for impressing their team with his commitment and confidence throughout the day and Hewlett Packard Enterprise even awarded drones to students they were impressed by at the event.

Oladimeji Achilefu of Hertfordshire University was the lucky winner of CA Technologies’ prize to be the ‘CEO for a day’, shadowing UKI Area Manager Milko Van Duijl for a day, heading up board meetings and experiencing a day at their offices in Datchet. Rebecca Taylor, Head of Communications at CA Technologies UK & Ireland reflected on the importance of degrees that address the skills gaps issues in STEM;

“We are facing a major STEM skills gap in Europe, and dedicated programmes like the ITMB degree and Software Development for Business degree are essential to helping to address the issue. It is a pleasure to host the South Event, and to offer the “Run CA for a Day” competition, as part of our Create Tomorrow programme. The students are continually impressive, creative and engaged. Their learning and expertise will be vital to not just their success but the success of our economies in the digital age.”

The Tech Partnership would like to thank CA Technologies for hosting the event and to all the employer sponsors and universities for supporting the event.

Contact degrees@thetechpartnership for enquiries about the student/employer events.

For tweets of the day: #SouthEvent @ITMBdegree
For more information on the Tech Partnership accredited degrees, visit the Tech Partnership Degrees page