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Welcome to the new Digital Innovators website

Mick Westman, Founder

I’m thrilled to welcome visitors to our new Digital Innovators website (and blog).

The last 12 months or so have been a whirlwind of activity for our team. What started (in 2016) as a pilot project to help young people that had struggled to reach their full potential through traditional academic routes, has since blossomed into a full blown course benefitting hundreds of students – and we couldn’t be more pleased.

Our work to date has seen us develop relationships with colleges, universities, local authorities and employers, all of whom want to help young people unlock their potential. Feedback from our students and partners suggests we really are changing lives – not just by giving students the skills they need to excel in the workplace, but by giving them the confidence in their own ability to succeed.

Take a look at the unique way that we work with young people in further education, and the exciting projects the students are engaged in with our local employers. Projects that make a real difference.

None of our work would be possible without the considerable support of our partners, employers and supporters. Thanks to generous support, we are starting to expand what we do and look forward to sharing some announcements about this soon.

As well as our latest news, our blog contains insights into our ground breaking work, and our thinking on topics such as apprenticeships, the future digital workforce and what being being “digital” means.

This is also where we’ll keep you updated with our latest news, tell you about events and courses we are running and also publish informative posts on the digital world we all live in.

We have gone through a re-branding exercise managed by our Associate Communications Director, Catherine Martin, and have a great new logo and look that reflects our belief that we truly do “Unlock Potential”.

We’re excited about the future and look forward to working with existing and new partners to enable more young people to find the right path to their chosen career.

Reflecting on 2021, looking ahead to 2022 and tackling youth unemployment

2021 saw Digital Innovators make significant headway in adapting and developing our skills programmes to unlock the potential of hundreds of young people in the region. We also expanded our team, moved into new offices, launched Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company and even won an award for Outstanding Education and Training at Solihull Awards 2021!

So, how do we plan to follow that this year?

Mick Westman, Founder and CEO of Digital Innovators shares his thoughts on the challenges for young people in 2022 and how Digital Innovators intends to help more young people gain meaningful employment.


Mick’s reflection

Digital Innovators’ mission is to provide alternative pathways to employment. Our focus is supporting 16–24 year olds by unlocking their potential. This remains as true today as it was when we started – but how we achieve this has adapted in light of the pandemic, not only to respond to new challenges caused by COVID restrictions, but in recognition of the significant increase in demand for digital skills across all industry sectors.

2021 delivered some sobering facts:

  • Between August and October 2021 – 87,000 people aged 16-24 had been unemployed for over 12 months, which was 18.9% of unemployed 16-24 year olds. This is an increase from 18.6% of unemployed people in this age group in the previous quarter.
  • Shockingly, 20% of all people who had been unemployed for over 12 months were between the ages of 16 and 24 year olds.1
  • The number of young people in employment has fallen by 171,000, a 5% fall since 2020.

Not only has the pandemic affected these young people individually, it has impacted our economy as a whole, with the cost of higher youth unemployment in terms of lost national output forecast to be £5.9 billion in 2021, rising to £6.9 billion in 2022.2


Taking action to tackle youth unemployment

We are redoubling our efforts to find more ways to bridge the gap between employers and young people to provide alternative talent pipelines and support them in their skills and experience development for when the jobs market recovers.

Now more than ever, we need to help these young people build the confidence, self-belief, and resilience needed to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate their value to employers – and in 2022, we have a number of exciting initiatives coming up which will do exactly that.

In 2022 Digital Innovators will focus on creating an environment that allows employers and these young people to work together, to share ideas and to create alternative career pathways that help address this worrying trend of young people in this age group being unemployed, and for extended periods of time.

This will primarily be done through delivering our skills programmes in colleges and schools, as well as through The Ideator – based at Innovation Birmingham – in collaboration with Bruntwood SciTech and GBSLEP, which will be launching with five events this January and February. These events will see national and local employers working directly with students in live problem-solving workshops to address business challenges.

By providing a space and opportunities in which young people can demonstrate their capability, skills and ideas, I am confident that we can illustrate to employers the value that young people can bring to their business and facilitate further collaboration which will contribute to the reduction of youth unemployment in the region.


Thank you

Digital Innovators would like to thank everyone who has supported us throughout 2021. Without your support, our work would not be possible. We look forward to continuing to work together to facilitate the development young people in the West Midlands.

We are keen to share more about our plans for 2022 and explore further opportunities for collaboration. To get involved, please email info@digitalinnovators.co.uk.


1 Youth Unemployment Statistics 2021 House of Commons research briefings.

2 Report from Learning and Work Institute and The Prince’s Trust, supported by HSBC UK.



Want to learn more?

Stay up to date with us and be the first to know about our upcoming events by subscribing to our newsletter – the DI news – here.

You can also check out our latest blog posts below:

Dr David Hardman MBE appointed as Director and Chairman of Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company
We are thrilled to share the appointment of Dr David Hardman MBE as a Director and Chairman of Digital Innovators West Midlands Community …
Employer Spotlight – Altruist Enterprises
Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Find out what it's like to set up your own business in the latest Employer Spotlight …

Dr David Hardman MBE appointed as Director and Chairman of Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company

Following the announcement last month that we had launched Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company, we are thrilled to share the appointment of Dr David Hardman MBE. David has agreed to join Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company as a Director and Chairman.

David shares Digital Innovators’ passion of releasing the potential of young people in the region and in doing so creating long-term sustainable career pathways with local employers that underpin digital transformation and economic growth.

David said “In a world of constant challenges and change, access to innovative talent is essential for a company’s growth and survival. Too often employers look to the same places for their future employees – generally in their own or corporate mould. Diversity promotes real innovation. So, inclusive development of talent offers businesses the best chance of success.”

“I have joined the Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company because their approach is about innate talent – looking beyond previous attainment to identify and develop fresh talent that is so needed for tomorrow’s industries. It is an opportunity-for-all approach that should be seen as being fundamental to the levelling up and across agenda”.

David brings a wealth of experience to the role that will truly benefit the local community and enable us to take the next step in our mission to provide alternative pathways to employment.


Dr David Hardman MBE – Biography

Until the beginning of this year David was Managing Director of Bruntwood SciTech in Birmingham. His career over the last twenty-five years has been in knowledge transfer. His expertise and interests have been directed at creating appropriate partnerships and infrastructures promoting the development and success of cross sectorial knowledge-based businesses as part of the UK science park movement.

He started out as a PhD microbiologist, with research interests in the application of microbes in what is now described as ‘clean technology’. In 1992 co-founded and led a start-up biotech venture and this experience developed into a wider interest in the translation of science into good and applicable technologies.

Following 10 years in Cambridge leading the early commercial development of the Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, he moved to Birmingham in 2008 and over 13 years developed and implemented a strategy to build on the legacy of Aston Science Park. The result is the Innovation Birmingham Campus; an urban focal point promoting digital innovation and adoption across all sectors, which became part of Bruntwood SciTech in 2018 to create a focal point for a thriving innovation district in Birmingham.

During his time in Birmingham David developed and led the delivery of two business start-up and access to innovation programmes – Entrepreneurs for the Future and Serendip® – and as part of the latter recognised the need to promote neurodiversity amongst the region’s innovators. This led to the Serendip Ideator project which launched in partnership with Digital Innovators in January 2022; at which point David joined the Board of the Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company as Chairman.

David is also a NED on the Board of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP; sits on the innovation and skills boards for the GBSLEP and the West Midlands Combined Authority and is a Director of the Titan Partnership.

David was awarded an MBE for ‘contributions to science’ in 2009.


Want to learn more?

Interested in working with Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company? Get in touch at info@digitalinnovators.co.uk.

Stay up to date with us by subscribing to our newsletter – the DI news – here.

Reflecting on 2021, looking ahead to 2022 and tackling youth unemployment
In 2021 we made significant headway in unlocking the potential of hundreds of young people in the region. But how do we plan to follow …
Employer Spotlight – Altruist Enterprises
Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Find out what it's like to set up your own business in the latest Employer Spotlight with the …

Employer Spotlight – Altruist Enterprises

Right, let’s get started… Introduce yourself!

“I’m Katie Buckingham, I’m 28 and I’m the founder of Altruist Enterprises.”

“Altruist Enterprises provides resilience, stress management and mental health awareness training to organisations, businesses, and schools nationally, but with a particular focus on the West Midlands.”

Can you explain a bit more in depth about your role?

“Since founding Altruist Enterprises, I have adopted many roles within the organisation. The role I most enjoy is product development – by this I mean developing new training courses around mental health. This also involves speaking to our customers and audience and conducting market research so that our programmes address the most prominent issues faced by people today.”

“As this is my business, I also have some responsibility in operations, sales, HR and recruitment. Essentially, my job is to ensure that our training is delivered effectively and that we have the right people on board to help manage and grow Altruist Enterprises.”

“But overall, my role is to raise awareness around mental health across multiple settings and be a champion for following a vocational education path.”

What are the origins of Altruist Enterprises?

“The idea for Altruist Enterprises came to me around the age of 17 after experiencing problems with anxiety from a young age. This was at a time when mental health wasn’t really spoken about so for awhile, I didn’t even realise that this was what I was experiencing and didn’t speak about what I was feeling as I was worried about what people would think of me.”

“After developing my own coping mechanisms whilst on waiting lists for professional support, and eventually getting the support I needed at 16, I realised how long this was to wait for help and came to the conclusion that without the stigma around mental health, I might have received help much sooner.”

“With this in mind, I applied and secured some funding to run some mental health workshops in schools and produced a resource for teachers to increase awareness around mental health so this could be brought into the classroom.”

“After that, I finished my A-Levels and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do next. I didn’t want to follow the traditional path of going to university, but I knew I wanted to focus more on project management, business, and mental health awareness.”

“So, I joined the Peter Jones’ Enterprise Academy and developed a business – which didn’t work out but I learnt so much from regardless. The vocational focus and practical mindset confirmed that I wanted to set up my own business around mental health, and this led to the creation of Altruist Enterprises – and here we are eight years later.”

What advice do you have for young people who are at the beginning of their careers?

“It’s easier said than done, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. We are often told to follow a traditional route of going to school, then to college, then to university, then to work – but you don’t have to do that.

“It’s completely fine to take a break, try new things and figure out what you really want to do, and do this in your own time. You don’t need to accomplish everything between the ages of 11 and 25! So, don’t be afraid of failure – as failing and trying again is something I have done a lot over the years, and has helped me get to where I am now.””

Which skills do you think are most important in the workplace?

“From my experience of running a business, I have looked at so many CVs over the years and personally, I don’t really look at their education history. What I look for is their work experience and voluntary work, and the skills they have gained as a result.”

“When looking to hire someone, I focus on the transferable skills gained through their work experience and how people have put themselves out there in order to further develop themselves. This proactive attitude, determination and willingness to get out of their comfort zone is something I definitely look for.”

“Of course, these opportunities aren’t always easy to find, especially for young people, and that’s why organisations such as Digital Innovators – who bridge the gap between young people and employers – are so helpful.”

How much does having digital skills play a part in your job? How has having digital skills enabled you to get to where you are now?

“Having digital capabilities has always been important in the workplace but has become essential as a result of the pandemic. Before COVID-19, the majority of our courses were delivered in person and have since been mainly delivered online.

Therefore, our staff need to have digital skills in order to properly manage the delivery of our training. Coincidentally, this has improved the accessibility of our courses as they have become more flexible for people to attend and has actually led to an increase in uptake of our courses.”


Thank you, Katie, for taking the time to talk to us and share your story – I’m sure it is one that many young people will be able to relate to and feel inspired by!

To find out more about Katie’s work, you can visit Altruist Enterprises website here.

Now, you’ve heard Katie’s story. Where could your idea take you?

Have an idea you’d like to explore? Start now! You don’t know where it could take you.

Don’t miss the next employer spotlight where another employer will be sharing their insights and advice for young people, subscribe to The Stride.

This article was written by Bronia - Communications and Business Development Assistant

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Dr David Hardman MBE appointed as Director and Chairman of Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company
We are thrilled to share the appointment of Dr David Hardman MBE as a Director and Chairman of Digital Innovators West Midlands …

Press Release – Digital Innovators launches Community Interest Company

We’ve got some exciting news to share! Please see our latest press release below.

Businesses and young people to tackle real world challenges under new Community Interest Company

Training and skills provider, Digital Innovators has formed Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company, to facilitate collaboration between young people and businesses in the West Midlands.

With support and funding from GBSLEP and Bruntwood SciTech, Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company will launch a pilot series of events designed to bring together young talent and local businesses to solve business challenges.

These events will include businesses across many different sectors – including construction, fintech, professional services, healthcare, engineering and more – and are an exciting next step in Digital Innovators’ ambition to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds develop their skills and confidence to make their mark as they enter the world of employment.

By forming Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company, the organisation is able to build upon and develop new partnerships with businesses who are interested in expanding their corporate social responsibility policies to invest in skills and employment opportunities for young people in the West Midlands whilst benefiting from innovative business solutions.

This initiative is the first campaign to be launched by the newly-formed Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company, and builds on its sister company’s five year track record of working in partnership with schools and colleges to provide digital and workplace skills training to 16-25 year olds and bridge the gap between education and the workplace.

Founder and CEO of Digital Innovators, Mick Westman, said “for Digital Innovators, establishing Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company allows us to expand our current partnerships and identify new opportunities to work with companies and grant-funding organisations to benefit the growing number of young people in the region that have not yet had the right support to help them reach their full potential. We want to improve equal access to opportunities for this talented generation whilst generating tangible business solutions across multiple industries.”

Digital Innovators is keen to collaborate with businesses, schools or colleges who are interested in being part of upcoming challenge events. Organisations wanting to get involved should contact Digital Innovators on info@digitalinnovators.co.uk.

For more information about Digital Innovators, please visit – https://digitalinnovators.co.uk/

Project Update – The Clarity Practice

What a term it’s been for the DI Skills Programme! Students from Solihull College and University Centre have been working incredibly hard since their project launches, so we thought we’d fill you in on what they’ve been up to.

Giulia, Tauheed, Naima, Tasalla, Emma, Amtul, and Yunus have been working with The Clarity Practice on the development of an app to support carers and care givers.  


So, how has the team progressed since the launch earlier this term?

In a small number of weeks, this team has made immense progress.

They have completed design thinking sessionsdesigned visuals for the app, as well as planning layouts, colour schemes, and logos.

At each stage, this team has held The Clarity Practice’s values and the experience of carers in the fore front on their minds, ensuring that their plans meet the needs of both the employer and prospective customer.

Have there been any hurdles to overcome?

Nope! Due to the clear communication between the team and the employers at The Clarity Practice, this group has gotten off to a brilliant start.

Students working with their DI Mentors and employer from The Clarity Practice to understand the needs of their target audience!

Top 3 achievements from the team this term?

  • The team has been engaging effectively with their employer throughout this term.
  • The team have created unique visuals and plans for the app, informed by their own experiences with carers.
  • Despite not knowing each other just five weeks ago, the team has worked incredibly well together this term.

Great job team! We can’t wait to see what’s next…

That’s it for our project updates this term… Don’t worry, we have more updates coming in the new year on current projects and new ones!

Keep up to date with all the action by subscribing to our newsletters here.

Do you have an idea for a project? Download our Project Guide here to find out more.

Project Update – Vanti

Students on the DI Skills Programme at Solihull College and University Centre have been getting stuck into their employer projects this term!

Arya, Asmaa, Mubarik, Zynap, Ewura, and Azan have been working on a market research project with Vanti, which is centred around smart buildings of the future.

We spoke to our delivery team, Harry and Pete, to find out how they’ve been getting on…


So, how has the team progressed since the launch earlier this term?

So far the project team have conducted thorough design thinking and research into the project set by Vanti.

After developing user stories and stepping into the shoes of their potential clients, the team then researched the market and planned for trial periods of Vanti’s new product which they are currently developing and hope to utilise in smart buildings.  

Tom Silk, Communications Manager at Vanti, has worked closely with the team this term and said:

“I’ve been really impressed by the group’s attitude and how they have increased their knowledge week by week. They have made great progress and the information they have gathered will be extremely useful for our business.”

Have there been any hurdles to overcome?

After some initial issues with the team’s presentation skills and overall confidence, they have completed their training modules which cover skills such as communication, presentations, and networking.

Since then they improved drastically – leaving the employer, the DI team and their Head of School at Solihull College thoroughly impressed in their most recent presentation!

Top 3 achievements from the team this term?

  • The team have been engaging consistently and effectively with their employer throughout the project.
  • All parties have effectively engaged in networking events and improved their confidence.
  • Together the team conducted an interview with the facilities managers at Innovation Birmingham in order to better understand their project subject matter.

Well done!

Great job team – you have smashed it so far! We can’t wait to see what you achieve in the new year…


More updates to follow…

We have more project updates coming this week, and more projects launching in 2022!

Keep up to date with all the action by subscribing to our newsletters here.

Do you have an idea for a project? Download our Project Guide here to find out more.

Project Update – UHB Maps

We have nearly reached the end of the first term on the DI Skills Programme, so of course, it’s time for a project update!

Since the launch of the UHB Maps project with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, the project team – Anwar, Moeez, Joshua and James – have been working hard to create an interactive map to help new starters with navigating the site.

We spoke to members of the Digital Innovators team, Harry Paige and David Clarkson, who have been supporting the team as they bring this project to life…


So, how has the team progressed since the launch earlier this term?

The project team have determined a solution to the problem posed by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, and have began developing a prototype which allows users to see locations in the hospital using QR Codes and 360-degree video technology.

They have began testing this technology to see how it works, and what they can improve on!

Have there been any hurdles to overcome?

As yet, there have been no hurdles. After meeting just under two months ago, the team have been working very well together ever since.  

Top 3 achievements from the team this term?

  1. The team have been brilliant at maintaining effective communication with their employer by having weekly catch ups.  
  2. In order to gain a greater insight into the potential that tech has as a solution, the team attended the Our Smart Brum launch to hear from leaders in the tech industry.  
  3. The team have swiftly developed a solution and have already began planning their testing phase.

What’s next?

Last week, the team presented their progress so far to their employers at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

After receiving some constructive criticism and feedback on their work so far, Anwar, Moeez, Joshua and James have formulated a plan of how best to continue with their project in the new year.

We look forward to seeing their progress next term… But for now, well done team!


More to come…

We have more project updates coming this week, and more projects launching in 2022!

Keep up to date with all the action by subscribing to our newsletters here.

Interested in developing a project? Download our Project Guide here.

Reflect, Review, Renew

Something you have probably come across at various stages in life is the idea of self-reflection.

Although it might sound like quite an obscure idea, it can be as simple as thinking about something you have done and wondering…

  • What was I able to achieve?
  • What could I have done better?
  • How will I do things differently next time?

This simple practice is implemented in many settings, through things such as school reports, performance reviews, awards ceremonies, and more – all of which encompass this idea of reflection.


Reflect

So, why should we reflect? Self-reflection allows us to be conscious in our experiences.

It is a process which is important for personal, academic and professional growth. It’s how we move from just experiencing something, to understanding it and how we can do things differently next time.

Self-reflection is something which we champion at Digital Innovators and is incorporated throughout the DI Skills Programme. This might be through a team debrief following a presentation with their project employer, or a personal task set at the end of a skills training session on communication.

Reflection, however, is not really that effective on its own. Ideally, there will be two more steps to accompany this action: review and renew.


Review

To review is to assess something with the intention of instituting change if necessary.

The review stage is more evaluative than the reflect stage. After all, we can reflect upon almost anything without necessarily generating an outcome, such as self-improvement.

Of course, improvement is not the only outcome you can strive for. Simply identifying your strong points and maintaining them might be the outcome you desire.

But if you want the process of reflection to have a real impact, for example, to make sure you perform better in your next exam, you can incorporate the review stage into your self-reflection practice.

Let’s go back to the example of an exam, and review it. Try to think of the following:

  • What areas did I score highly on?
  • Which topics do I need to study more closely?
  • How could I have answered that question differently?
  • What can I do to better prepare for my next exam?

Renew

To renew is to regenerate, rebuild, to make changes.

Once you have reviewed something, you can begin to renew.

This is the most practical stage. You have identified what went well and what didn’t, so you can actively make some changes.

For example, let’s imagine that you recently pitched an idea to your bosses at work. You were successful and this idea is being taken forward, but upon reflection, you think you could have prepared more answers to possible questions and provided more statistics which backed up your pitch.

With these changes identified, you can put them into practice as you prepare for your next pitch – and that is the renew stage!


Try it out!

Click to download our Let’s Reflect resource sheet!

The ideas discussed in this blog can be realigned to the “What, So What, Now What” Method of self-reflection. You can download our resource sheet here to give it a go for yourself!


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This article was written by Bronia - Communications and Business Development Assistant

Igniting the entrepreneurial spirit in the next generation

Digital Innovators is thrilled to be working with Year 10 students at CORE Education Trust at CORE City Academy.

As part of the COREWorks initiative, on the Digital Innovators Skills Programme, these students will have the opportunity to develop their core skills such as collaboration, leadership, communication and more. Simultaneously, they will work on a project set by Digital Innovators, which will enable them to apply their skills and develop their ideas in a work-simulated environment.

In order to stimulate some ideas, ignite the entrepreneurial spirit, and add some perspective to their sessions with the DI Team, we took a team of enthusiastic students to the University of Birmingham Start Up Incubator Launch at The Exchange!


Getting inspired…

The evening began with some introductions from the University of Birmingham which explained the origins of the Start Up Incubator. During the session, the founder of Student Beans, James Eder, unexpectedly gifted CORE City Academy student, Daniel, with a book for bravely standing up in front of the audience to introduce himself and explain his reason for attending, which was to learn from others and nurture his interest in being an entrepreneur.

This was followed by some exciting presentations from University of Birmingham alumni who introduced their business ventures, which ranged from the UK’s first tickets and activities subscription service – Buckt – to an app to track and treat Eczema – created by doctors who suffer with the condition – Eczema Doc – and many more.


Taking initiative!

Following the presentations, the team were left feeling inspired by the young people who had shared their stories, from an initial idea to start-up business.

After realising they had some questions about some of the businesses, and some suggestions for how these businesses could be improved, the team took to the floor and approached various founders to share their thoughts.

The initiative taken by the students, was not only impressive to the business leaders and University of Birmingham staff around the room, but to the DI Team and CORE City Academy staff who had noticed such a change in their demeanour and confidence since beginning to work with them in September.

Philippa Lewis, Assistant Headteacher at CORE City Academy, said:

“What an inspiring evening. Thank you to Digital Innovators and the University of Birmingham for providing such a wonderful opportunity to some of year 10 students. They left feeling motivated, full of resilience and driven to follow their dreams!

Kerry Brunn, Project and Events Manager at the University of Birmingham, said:

“Every one of the students appeared to actively engage with a variety of the launch attendees and conducted themselves in a professional manner.

They were an absolute pleasure to have at the event and are a credit to their school, parents and Digital Innovators. We are looking forward to working with these young students and inviting them back to The Exchange very soon.”


What’s next?

The team have been set the task of preparing a presentation about their experience at The Exchange to share with their fellow students on the DI Skills Programme.

This will include what they were able to learn as a result of attending, and how this will be implemented into their project. Following this, they will continue to work with Digital Innovators on developing their core skills and seizing opportunities to further their knowledge and experience.


Stay up to date

There is plenty going on at Digital Innovators, and even more coming in 2022! To keep updated on our news and opportunities, subscribe to our newsletter.

If you have missed our latest updates, you can check out the articles below.

Project Launches 2021-22! Part 2

Last week we held our project launches at Digital Innovators HQ! Participants on the DI Skills Programme at Solihull College and University Centre were put into project teams, were joined by employers and set their challenges for the year!

The remaining project launches of the week are recapped below, including some exciting digital challenges across three very different industries.


Which employers will this year’s cohort be working with?

Vodbull is the longest running student only event in the UK and have operated in Birmingham for over 23 years, welcoming thousands of students to their events every week.

With their extensive audience in mind, Vodbull has set participants on the DI Skills Programme at Solihull College and University Centre a challenge to help maximise their resources by incorporating a digital change into the organisation.

The team were joined by Rosanna Meyer, General Manager at Vodbull, who said “I was very impressed with the whole setup and ethos. The students were great and the manner of the Digital Innovator team with them was superb.

“Any shyness was quickly forgotten with simple but effective icebreakers and important skills were mastered throughout the day without even realising. I’m excited to see the progress of the project and can’t recommend working with Digital innovators enough.”


We are thrilled that participants on the DI Skills Programme will continue working with Solihull Council. Our brilliant project team will continue collaborating with the council on a number of projects, such as developing virtual reality concepts for The Core Theatre.

The team has been tasked with creating a Virtual Courtyard Gallery and a Virtual Heritage Gallery to attempt to replicate the experience of visiting a gallery, as well as offering enhanced experiences that a virtual platform will allow.

We were joined by Arts Programme Manager Lawrence Smith and Library Specialist: Heritage & Local Studies Tracey Williams from the Customer and Cultural Services team at Solihull Council. 

Tracey said: “The launch day was energising. We are excited to see how the students’ technical knowledge and fresh approach will create an innovative and immersive online experience for virtual gallery visitors all over the world.”


Following the success of previous projects, students on the DI Skills Programme will continue to work with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

The team at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust have set their project team the challenge of creating an interactive map to help new starters with navigating the site.

At the launch, the project team was joined by Jane Chadwick and Sarah Sutherland who introduced the challenge and assisted in the design thinking session.

Jane Chadwick, Lead Educator at UHB said: “We are looking forward to working with the students from Digital Innovators on a solution to assist our new starters find their way around our sites.”


What did the students think of the project launches? Let’s hear from them…

“I love the project and can’t wait to get started.”

“I really enjoyed the project launch, it felt very professional.”

“It was a great experience to sit down with the employers and delve into their projects. I’m glad that everyone got involved too.”


More to come…

That’s a round-up of all the project launches which have taken place so far. However, there are more to come!

To stay up to date with all things Digital Innovators, subscribe to our newsletter or check out our latest articles below.

Reflecting on 2021, looking ahead to 2022 and tackling youth unemployment
In 2021 we made significant headway in unlocking the potential of hundreds of young people in the region. But how do we plan to …
Dr David Hardman MBE appointed as Director and Chairman of Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest Company
We are thrilled to share the appointment of Dr David Hardman MBE as a Director and Chairman of Digital Innovators West Midlands Community Interest …