‘Bringing the Learning to Life’ through the power of partnerships

Jan 09, 2023
Our Work

A 2022 Impact Journey Case Study

The UK is a world leader in impactful disruptive tech innovation, which will be critical in securing a sustainable future. But many young people are not aware of the career opportunities in the sector, or even worse, are put off a career in tech. Teachers also tell us how difficult it is to describe the range of careers that exist, which is contributing to the tech skills gap.

We also know that the tech sector has a diversity problem -50% of workers in the UK labour market are women. However in tech, it’s half that, at 26% - even though research shows that the most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability. Connecting young people from diverse backgrounds to real-world professionals is one of the ways we can address this.

By connecting students to our industry Expert Volunteers through our online Expert Sessions, (now embedded in our course structure) and through our annual Showcase, we inspire students by bringing diverse tech careers to life and engaging them in industry practice.

Spotlight - Life Academy Trust, Leicestershire

Bosworth Academy in Leicester caters for students aged 11-19 and is part of the Life Academy Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) that teaches the new ‘Real LiFE Curriculum' in both rural and city schools in Leicestershire. The Academy embraces this new style of teaching and learning, designed to make learning more relevant and engaging through bringing topics to life and by teaching students how to make a difference to their own lives and the world around them.

Steve Hall, is a Senior Leader at LiFE Multi-Academy Trust and has been instrumental in introducing Apps for Good in Leicestershire schools.

“The sessions are really well planned and we love the fact Apps for Good is so flexible in the way we can deliver it. We build every one of our student missions around one of the UN Sustainability Goals and so when we saw the Innovate for Climate Change course, we knew it would be a great vehicle to deliver against the climate action goal. Our students were quickly engaged in how they could take action on climate change themselves and persuade others to act. It really suited our needs and would suit the needs of any school looking to bring their computing curriculum to life.” Steve Hall, Senior Leader, LiFE Multi-Academy Trust

With the ethos of the Real LiFE Curriculum on self-directed student ‘missions’ aligned to the UN Sustainability Goals, Steve was immediately drawn to how Innovate for Climate Change incorporated climate education combined with computing and the opportunity to develop essential skills. The course structure has given Steve the freedom to map the school’s own success criteria to help students understand how they can achieve success through the course, while our Skills Builder accreditation has given him reassurance that the course will give his students the opportunity to develop and practise essential skills such as creativity, problem solving and teamwork.


Opening their eyes to future careers

Student innovators, Nevan, Tanveer, Alfie, Thomas, Katie and Rosie were among the year 7 students that took part in the pilot of Innovate for Climate Change at Bosworth Academy. Through the industry engagement element of the course, they had a virtual session with Expert Volunteers from Accenture who gave feedback on their app ideas and talked about their own careers in tech. Steve said:

“Engaging with industry partners from Accenture really opened students’ eyes to the careers that might be out there. In addition to aspirations to become a YouTuber or a professional footballer, many students are most familiar with more traditional careers. This opportunity presents them with inspirational role models that some learners may not ordinarily have access to and students that don’t consider themselves to be ‘techie’ are awoken to the idea that careers in tech could actually be suited to their skillset.”

At LiFE Multi-Academy Trust, bringing real life experiences into the curriculum makes the learning so much more authentic for students. Steve found students to be more connected to their work and meeting industry professionals helped them realise that they too can actually make a difference in the world. Tanveer designed an app to generate ideas about what you can do to make the earth a better place, from recycling food to reducing plastic in the ocean. He said, “It’s a great opportunity to develop skills for when you’re older - the panel of experts was like an interview panel that you might have to do when you’re older for jobs.”

Alfie and Thomas designed an app called ‘Time to Take Action’, which was a competitive game-based approach to doing small things to make a big difference. Although nervous about pitching their idea to our industry experts from Accenture, they shared their prototype with Expert Volunteers and received valuable feedback on their pitch. The students welcomed expert feedback and adapted their finished prototype.

Creating ‘really great human beings’

It was the first time that these students had engaged with anyone outside of their school, yet since taking Innovate for Climate Change, they’ve gone on to become part of a working group with the local council, sharing ideas on climate action within their local community, including switching the food packaging in the school canteen to greener alternatives. Students told us the course had massively helped them develop the communication skills for this type of engagement - previously outside of their comfort zone.

The course also changed their own attitudes and behaviours. Alfie told us, “When I get home from school, instead of just chucking everything in the bin, I go through it all and see what can be recycled”.

LiFE Multi-Academy Trust is due to deliver Innovate for Climate Change to 450 more students in the Leicester region this spring. Find out more about the course here.