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Pupils on board with IT careers

High-tech conferencing has put children in the picture on potential career options. Julia Belgutay reports

High-tech conferencing has put children in the picture on potential career options. Julia Belgutay reports

Twenty secondary pupils experienced a unique careers event last month when they used cutting-edge ICT to find out about jobs in technology.

As part of Technology Opportunities Focus, a series of events to highlight the volume and variety of careers available in the sector, organised by ScotlandIS and Scotland Women in Technology, the youngsters met Donald McLaughlin, director of Cisco in Scotland, in a virtual board meeting made possible by Cisco's communication technology TelePresence.

This offers high-quality video-conferencing that gives participants the impression of being together in the boardroom. The S4-6 pupils from Caldervale High, Bishopbriggs Academy and Paisley Grammar were invited to the firm's Motherwell offices to talk to Mr McLaughlin, who was in London at the time, about careers at Cisco and in the technology sector generally.

They also met two key individuals, who were involved in the 2012 Olympics, to hear about how they use technology in their careers.

BBC London 2012 online editor Mark Coyle led the editorial development, design, production and management of online content about the games, while Neil Crockett was managing director of London 2012 for Cisco.

Technology Opportunities Focus also included events to promote the role of women in the sector, as well as a European Day of Languges supported by IBM, attended by around 140 pupils from across South Ayrshire. Dell, HP (Hewlett-Packard), Oracle, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland also supported the project.

Polly Purvis, executive director at ScotlandIS, says the events aimed to "draw attention to an industry that is crying out for talent".

"Although technology is completely integrated with all aspects of our everyday lives, the image of the sector is one-dimensional and totally underestimates the job options available for bright young people and women," she adds.

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