Last Wednesday over 35 North West businesses and employers took over an empty warehouse on the vast Heywood Distribution Park to exhibit opportunities and careers to 2000 young people from various schools across Rochdale. Along with our friends at O2 Rochdale myself, Gordon and Craig Foden descended upon our stand with a shed-load of jelly beans and our old faithful exhibition game ‘Web Tapps’ – developed by Craig and lovingly designed by our graphic design wizard Richard in house.
We knew it would be a big day, but I’m not sure any of us were quite prepared for the sheer numbers of Year 9 pupils that swarmed the event throughout our time there. Staggered into 4 groups of around 500 pupils a time it’s safe to say we were kept busy! It also seems that Rochdale is certainly raising some potential future coders, we were so pleased with how many students answered ‘Yes’ to the question – ‘Have you ever done any computer programming before?’. Web Tapps, which provides a simple code puzzle to solve before unlocking a click-as-many-times-as-you-can-in-20-seconds game, proved to be a huge hit and certainly brought out some healthy yet fierce competition between the teenagers – we even got a new record! Though Craig’s previous top score of 184 was untouchable for a long while, there were two exceptionally fast clickers who first beat him with 192 and outrageously another pupil broke the 200 barrier and set a gargantuan 208 to beat.
There was a great amount of opportunities and ideas for careers on offer for the students, from make-up artists, to construction, automotive care and sales – plus Britain’s Got Talent finalists The Mend and the winner of the Great British Sewing Bee Heather Jacks amongst many more. We met several budding programmers, and discussed the various positions we offer including our internships, work experience and our industrial placements. It was definitely an event not be missed and we had a brilliant, if a little exhausting time!