aql CEO and Founder Professor Adam Beaumont has thrown down the gauntlet to digital businesses in Leeds by challenging them to make a series of commitments to help young people in the city have better access to digital education and work experience.
The challenges were set following Adam’s talk at the Child Friendly Leeds Digital Skills event in September 2019.
Held at aql’s headquarters in the Salem Chapel, Adam began by making two commitments from aql to those studying in the digital sector. Firstly he committed to offering 20 weeks per year of intern placements noting that if every digital business in the city did the same thean all graduate in Leeds would have access to the opportunity to experience working in the digital sector. Secondly, he offered an interview guarantee meaning that for every student graduating from a digitally relevant course, at an institution that aql works with, that they would be automatically offered an interview.
Additionally to this Adam took the time to talk about what the partnerships already in place between aql and other institutions have already achieved, namely fintech north, their work with the Ahead Partnership, Child Friendly Leeds and more. He spoke to attendees about how they could also ‘give back’ from within their own businesses and the impact and advantages which this could present.
Finally he spoke of an issue of great concern – that of fuel poverty within the city. Adam said,
“We want to help the 10% of homes who can’t afford fuel. It becomes difficult for children to thrive and to excel when they’re cold. We want to do what we can to help provide a nurturing home environment. The fact that there is a fuel poverty level of 10% in Leeds and this sits below the national average is “less bad” – but it’s not good. If we told our children to be “less bad” what kind of message is that? We need to be more good.”
Event hosts Child Friendly Leeds has over 900 ambassadors; many are from businesses in the digital sector or have large tech teams in their organisation. The aim of this event was to bring these businesses together with STEM staff and other colleagues from the education sector to explore how we can utilise the unique opportunities we have to work together to address the digital skills gap in Leeds and ensure that our young people are able to gain skilled and well paid employment in their city.
If Leeds is to continue its journey of becoming one of the country’s most dynamic tech hubs, it is essential that the city’s young people know about the immense breadth of digital job career opportunities on offer in their city.