Digital Day winners rise to real-world challenges

More than 300 teams entered BIMA's sixth annual competition, aimed at helping UK students learn about the potential of a digital career

Winners of the sixth annual Digital Day were announced today by BIMA, the UK’s digital trade body. Student teams from the Burgess Hill Academy in Sussex, Abbot’s Lea School in Liverpool and London’s Westminster Academy were each declared a winner of one of the activities, set by competition partners Vodafone, BBC Studios and the Football Association (FA).

Digital Day aims to give young people an insight into the variety of careers available in the digital sector. Each November, digital experts head back to school for a day, and this year helped more than 5000 students solve problems set by famous UK brands.

Each winning school will receive a cash prize, and the winning teams will attend a workshop hosted by a challenge partner; students will work with tech specialists with the ambition of bringing their ideas to life.

The winning work

Vodafone’s brief was to bring the high street to people with access issues or disabilities. In response, the team from Abbot’s Lea School devised a virtual reality (VR) game that could make shopping less overwhelming for people with autism.

BBC Studios asked students for a big idea to promote its digital-only series, Earthlings. The team at The Burgess Hill Academy came up with an interactive billboard and social media campaign to engage potential viewers and encourage empathy for different cultures.

In answer to the FA’s brief, the team from Westminster Academy created an app and VR campaign that would integrate with high street fashion retailers to increase young girls’ engagement with football and boost viewership of the England women’s team’s upcoming World Cup matches.

Neil Blagden, director of digital & commercial operations at Vodafone, said: “We loved the energy, enthusiasm and creativity the students showed in their entries. The winning work got to the heart of the issue – how to bring the high street to people with access issues or disabilities – and designed a thoughtful solution for the user.”

Jasmine Dawson, head of digital strategy and planning at BBC Studios, said: “We were so impressed by our winner’s ingenuity, and loved how they had thought through their audience insights in order to deliver maximum impact. They combined thoughtful digital innovation with creative storytelling to deliver a fantastic idea that we are really excited to further with them”

“We see such variety and sophisticated ideas from Digital Day teams, and this year has been no exception,” said Holly Hall, MD at BIMA. “The UK’s students are digitally savvy. What they don’t understand is how they can apply that knowledge to a progressive, lucrative future career in the digital and technology sector, the fastest growing industry in Britain.”

Hope Carr Oddie, undertaking a Goldman Sachs digital apprenticeship, took part in the 2016 Digital Day. “The computing curriculum is so theoretical,” she said, “but BIMA Digital Day gave me a completely different perspective from what I’d learned in the classroom – it made me want to study it at college. I wish I’d had this kind of exposure at a younger age, as it took practical experience for me to understand what I could be doing.”