Back to school – our BIMA Digital Day 2016 with Blatchington Mill

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Tom Chute, Simon Cooke and the students of Blatchington Mill School and Sixth Form

We’re always on the lookout for amazing developers, creatives, digital marketers and project managers to join our team, so we jump at the opportunity to get out in the local community and start the recruitment process early! OK, we may not have been collecting CVs and Github accounts, but we were delighted to be taking part in BIMA’s Digital Day 2016: an action packed day aiming to inspire the next generation of digital professionals.

With memories of forgotten PE kits and missing homework, Simon and I set off for Blatchington Mill School and Sixth Form on the 15th November. There were no excuses needed for missing preparation work as BIMA had provided excellent guidance and materials, so we hit the ground running when we met our class of Year 9 – 11s.

Our students were Digital Leaders: students who work with the school to promote safe internet usage and showed a particular interest in the digital industry. It was no surprise then, when we asked “Who’s done any interesting work in digital?”, we were met with a spectacular range of activities from YouTube channels to coding a Python app.

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Thumbs up if you’ve got an idea for the Cancer Research challenge?

We then gave a short presentation on Pragmatic, the work we do and the various roles within the agency. Accompanied by a BIMA video or two, we discussed the huge range of opportunities in digital, and asked the students where they thought they might like to specialise. This was a good primer for the afternoon’s challenges, as the students would be taking on different roles within a project team.

The Digital Day challenges were set by industry partners: Standard Life, Tata Communications and Cancer Research. Each group of five students took on one of the challenges and then set about planning a digital project.

It was amazing to watch young students do so easily in minutes what workplace-weathered adults take multi-day workshops to achieve: no-holds-barred brainstorming and idea generation.

The groups had different responses to the challenges, but mobile apps were the predominant medium. These guys made The Apprentice look like a slow paced format, putting together mock-ups, prototypes, presentations and even a video within a couple of hours.

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With the school bell looming, the teams finalised their offerings ready for their Dragons Den style presentations to the rest of the class, Simon and I. The presentations were slick, well thought out and did a great job of pitching the ideas. It made for a tricky judging process, with the unenviable final decision coming down to Pragmatic.

voting underway
Voting underway

It was a close run thing, with all the responses showing original and creative ideas, while staying within the realm of possibility. In the end, a Pokemon Go! Style game aimed at showing young people the value of money using augmented reality in shops won. The idea hit the brief and had strong commercial opportunities. If Standard Life read this: this one definitely has legs!

Here at Pragmatic, we’re committed to giving back to the community and inspiring the next generation of digital people, with a range of activities and educational partners. It is often the case that we end up being just as enthused. We left Blatchington Mill School & Sixth form safe in the knowledge that the next generation will grasp the digital baton from us and take the industry to places we can’t even imagine.

We’d like to say a massive thank you to Blatchington Mill School & Sixth Form, especially Kerry Griffiths (a lot of respect for teachers after today!), and BIMA for organising the brilliant day.

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