By @SimonCocking

FututreCreatorsShowcase04

Future Creators Programme shapes career choices

Research was announced at the end of year showcase of the innovative inner-city digital programme, Future Creators

Over half of the graduates completing The Digital Hub’s Future Creators, a digital media programme for 13-16 year olds in the Dublin Liberties area, have indicated that the programme has strongly influenced the career path they would now like to pursue.

Respondents to the Future Creators Alumni survey named several career paths they would now like to take after participating in the programme, including: Media Studies, Engineering, Music, Media/Journalism, Maths/Programming, Games Development, Computer Graphics, Film Production, Animation, Computer Science, IT and Business.

The alumni research also showed that 90% of respondents plan to go on to further education.

These findings were announced at a special graduation ceremony for this year’s participants, held in the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) this afternoon.

Established in 2011 by The Digital Hub and run in conjunction with National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and H2 Learning, the Future Creators programme aims to equip young people (aged 13 to 16 years old) from Dublin 8 with digital skills, including coding, app development, digital photography, filmmaking, and website development. The programme also works to enhance their exposure to STEM subjects and to build their confidence, so they may consider pursuing a career related to digital skills.

The showcase featured the work of this year’s group of 21 young people, whose projects include three games as a result of coding projects and a short film entitled ‘I wish I knew’ about a young teenager who has gotten involved with drugs.

This year, the programme also benefitted from an exciting partnership with TV3 Group channel, 3e. The partnership offers participants the opportunity to hone their digital media skills in one of Ireland’s leading media environments. Students were brought on a tour of 3e studios and received various talks from production staff onsite.

The keynote speaker at the showcase today was Lee Campbell, a 17 year old tech enthusiast and founding member of the Digital Youth Council, who has built up an impressive portfolio of national and international awards across the STEM area in the last number of years.

Speaking of his involvement in the end of year showcase, Lee said: “Through my work as one of the founding members of the world’s first Digital Youth Council, I’m delighted to be able to share my experience with the Future Creators participants today. Participants can use the skills and experiences from the Future Creators programme as their foundation to change the world through tech just as I have learned. Our generation are growing up as Digital Natives, but the people who have the skills to harness the power of technology to make a difference will be tomorrow’s superheroes.”

Commenting on the role that digital and technology has already played in his young life to date, Lee Campbell said: “Back in 2010, the F1 in Schools – the world’s largest STEM competition – laid a foundation for me to build on. Five years on, two world finals later and many other experiences in between I have gone from using tech as a tool to buy things online to a tool to build those very things through code and technologies like 3D printing. When you realise you can do that, you begin to realise that through tech you can change the world from your bedroom.”

Speaking at the event, Gerry Macken, CEO, The Digital Hub said: “The Digital Hub is once again proud to have worked alongside NCAD and H2 Learning to provide young people in the local Liberties area with the opportunity to learn more about the world of digital media. We feel that with each successful year the influence of the programme becomes stronger, and our widening pool of alumni satisfied with their experience demonstrates that.

“Our ultimate aim is to encourage students to pursue a career in digital media or technology, as we know that more and more Irish graduates are needed in order to meet future demand, so it is heartening to see the alumni survey results stating that over half of respondents felt the programme influenced their career path.”

“Since inception in 2011, the feedback we have received about the Future Creators programme is overwhelmingly positive. We have heard about the multitude of benefits that the students glean from being involved including: the individual attention they receive from tutors; the freedom to focus on projects they are interested in or have a natural ability or skill; the peer-to-peer learning and collaboration; the opportunity to meet and work with fellow students from a mix of different schools and diverse backgrounds; and most importantly the growth in self-confidence and fun that they have throughout the learning sessions.”

Professor Declan McGonagle, Director of NCAD commented on the programme, saying: “This innovative programme is about the future and the innate creativity of young people…when given the means and the opportunity. Future Creators is a wonderful opportunity for young people to have access to digital technologies, digital understanding and digital production but also to gain the communication and negotiation skills necessary to function and prosper in the world today. It is a ground breaking initiative and NCAD is proud to be a partner in such a creative process.”

The students participating in the 2015 Future Creators programme, 10 boys and 11 girls, are from the following schools in Dublin 8: CBS Synge Street, CBS James Street, Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount, St Patricks Grammar School, Mercy Convent, Inchicore and Loreto College, Crumlin.

This year’s group started in November 2014 and have received training in the following areas: Social media & blogging, Audacity sound software, stop motion animation, music technology, filmmaking and coding.

At today’s event, the students received special certificates of recognition from the National College of Art and Design. The work they created over the course of the year was on display, including a short film and three games resulting from the three coding projects. Two of the students, Andrew O’Neill and Caitlyn Rogers, gave a short talk on their experience with the programme.

Deric Hartigan, TV3 Personality and Weather Presenter, was the guest MC at the event.

Further information about Future Creators is available at: www.thedigitalhub.com/futurecreators

 

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