Can Studios - UTC’s Employer Mentor ProgrammeEarlier this month, myself and other industry representatives paid a visit to University Technology College Sheffield as an expert for their Employer Mentor event.

I’ve visited UTC Sheffield a few times, but it’s always great to meet more of the students and teachers. It was also the perfect opportunity to answer the students’ questions about the work we’re doing at Can Studios – plus a few about the digital training industry in general!

Can Studios has a long history of working with educational organisations including Collins Education, Oxford University Press, Sheffield Hallam University and Folens, so it made perfect sense to expand on this and offer project support and mentoring to our local UTC students.

It’s exciting to be working alongside so many other digital and creative companies who are also offering their support to UTC Sheffield, including Siemens, Rolls-Royce, Warp Films, and Sumo Digital.

What really impressed me about UTC Sheffield is how they combine academic, technical and practical activities. This is exactly the approach we take when we’re creating bespoke training content – we know that the best way to make something stick is to challenge the learner with a variety of different tasks and activities.

The UTC philosophy is that everything should be taught with a view to applying it to the real world, so students are given practical projects based on local-company requirements. As a creative business, we know that sourcing talent locally can be a challenge: a recent report found that 40% of businesses believe that recruiting staff with suitable skills is a significant barrier to digital progress.

It’s crucial that students are taught the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy, but it’s also important that the next generation are taught the skills needed to bridge the ever-widening emerging skills gap.

That’s why we believe it’s important to support initiatives like UTC Sheffield by offering mentoring and project support. We already ran work placements for UTC students earlier this year, and are looking to arrange more work placements in the new year. We’re also hoping to develop some software that’ll help us pass on the skills we have in-house at Can Studios, to UTC students – ensuring that the next generation of digital and creative professionals have the skills and knowledge our industry needs if it’s going to continue to thrive.

You can read more about the UTC’s Employer Mentors event, here: http://www.utcsheffield.org.uk/news/utc-sheffield-students-meet-expert-employer-mentors/