Engaging the Experts
We caught up with James Cracknell, Data Analyst at BNY Mellon, who has been using his expertise to give young people feedback on developing their app ideas.
How did you get involved with Apps for Good?
Apps for Good held a virtual session to the Sustainability Ambassador and WIT [Women in Technology] groups at BNY Mellon. Listening to the session I thought it was a fantastic charity to help young people. There was an opportunity to apply to support them and facilitate an expert session which I felt privileged to be a part of.
How have you supported Apps for Good students?
I was part of an “Expert” panel for Dr Challoner’s Grammar School where I had the privilege to listen to the students very capably present some fantastic and innovative ideas and provide them with feedback to further develop and improve their projects.
Tell us about the ideas the students shared with you.
Their ideas centred around finding innovative solutions to the climate crisis. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through app-based platforms that educate and incentivise the reduction of emissions by individuals.
Not only was I hugely impressed by the skill of the students’ presentations, their ideas were genuinely innovative and each group had a unique and well researched take on how they would create a solution.
Their technical fluency was also notable using and understanding terms like API, also being able to hit a brief given, understand consumer demand and produce a successful app model for students of their age, putting them ahead of their peers and setting them up for future careers.
What did you gain from the experience?
It was an inspiring experience and I felt privileged to have the students present to us their ideas.
I gained a huge appreciation for the work Apps for Good are doing and came away feeling lucky to have seen the positive impact they have had on those students’ education.
How do you think industry engagement benefits young people?
Industry engagement I hope will have benefited these young people through challenging them to present to individuals they do not know and will have been less confident speaking in front of.
Providing them with useful advice from our own experience of what works and what doesn’t. Reinforcing and questioning the goals of the product and structure they have chosen gives the students the opportunity to think on their feet but also take away thoughts and questions from the panel to improve the next iteration of their product.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about volunteering as an expert to support Apps for Good students?
Go for it! It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to spend time helping students, challenge them in a positive way, assist in their progress through the apps for good program and hopefully have a positive impact on their education.
And finally, what top tip would you give young people?
My top career tip for young people would be to ensure you are broad and interesting to employers, be as multidimensional as possible, take as many opportunities you can so that you can learn from and leverage that experience in both establishing a career and thriving in your job. Engage and make time for the people you work with, never be afraid to reach out and connect with people, build a strong network of mentors some of which will become your sponsors, all of whom will enable you to excel in your career.
Thanks for your time James!
Here at Apps for Good, we offer different ways to volunteer, with flexible options depending on the time you have available, the type of engagement you want to have and the type of support our students need.