Young Digital Thinkers

I’m Patrice Dolor, and my guest blog focuses on my experiences of O2’s latest programme – Think Big School – which helps young people develop digital skills. I applied on gothinkbig.co.uk for this blogging opportunity and I had an inspirational day working with some amazing people. I am an example of how Think Big offers great learning experiences and opportunities to young people.

O2 is aware that the technology industry is booming and for this reason, equipping young people with the skills necessary for the future is important. Think Big School is a digital skills programme with a difference. O2, in partnership with Young Enterprise, is rolling out a national programme, which will enable over 3000 young people to develop their creative, business and digital skills this year.

Young people took part in a number of sessions throughout the day, allowing them to think creatively and develop a business mind-set. This included coming up with their own business ideas, turning them into a reality, and pitching these ideas to a panel of judges.

I was curious about how the workshop would keep the attention of over 60 lively students. However, once the introduction was over and the first workshop began, I was impressed by the way the students were so involved. George, 14, described it as ‘interesting and exciting,’ and this was made crystal clear through the focus shown by the students.

It was great to see everyone getting stuck in to the different workshops, from making their own websites to presenting their ideas. Team work was the main skill I noticed throughout the day; they were put into groups and had to work together to create their business idea.

The atmosphere of the room was really positive, with students, O2 Helpers and teachers all working together. Ben Plain, the Think Big School Programme Manager described it as ‘Enthusiastic young people and O2 employees from across the business working together.’ Everybody involved was interested in what they were doing, contributing to the success of the day.

This team work was a great way for the young people to go back and forth with their ideas, which was something that Denver, a student from the school involved, really enjoyed.

The teachers took an active role as they had to pitch their own business idea as well. This was a great way for the young people to see a different side to their teachers, and emphasised the fact that everyone was able to get involved.

Teacher , Henry Lane from Bishopshalt School, felt that Think Big School was a great way to show O2 as a socially aware company, and through workshops like this, represent young people in a positive way. Chris Alaru, Head of year 10 was equally impressed, – ‘It allows our students to use skills they have acquired through school outside of the classroom.’

The different workshops create an innovative way of learning that students found new and refreshing. Arash, one of the students involved said that Think Big School differed from normal school activities as they were able to be leaders and think like entrepreneurs; they had the mind-set of the employer rather than the employee.

The final part of the day saw four groups pitching their business ideas. It was really great to witness them using the skills they had learnt, and being so confident with it. This goes to show that Think Big School isn’t just about gaining digital skills; it is also about believing in yourself and your ideas, which is definitely something that needs to be instilled into all young people.

O2 believes in young people and wants to help them succeed in the digital world, as highlighted by the Think Big blueprint commitment to help 1 million young people develop skills for life. Think Big School is a great opportunity for the young people involved to start thinking about their future. Not only is it a fun way of learning new skills, it is also a way in which young people can realise their own potential, giving them the confidence to start small, but think big.