‘A legacy we can be proud of’ was celebrated by UTC Heathrow and Partners when it was crowned Best Talent Developer.
The award was handed out at one of the world’s biggest gatherings of digital infrastructure professionals, Data Centre World, which took part at ExCeL London on 8-9 March.
The award was given in recognition of the Digital Futures programme – an engineering and IT curriculum now in its second year, designed to help combat a skills gap in the digital infrastructure industry.
UTC Heathrow staff, along with 17 eager students, set up at the exhibition in a specially created VIP Student Zone, alongside representatives from the ten data services companies who are supporting the programme.
These UTC Heathrow Partners are competitors in the data services world, but have collaborated to come up with an education programme that not only makes youngsters aware of the variety of careers available in this notoriously hush-hush industry, but also trains them up in the skills that will make them stand out among other job applicants.
Some of these partners spoke about the talent shortage and the steps educators can take to address it at a panel discussion called: ‘The UTC Heathrow Talent Initiative: Tackling the Talent Shortage: How a new approach is positively changing the industry for good!’
Playing out to a packed crowd, the speakers – CNet Training’s Andrew Stephens; Amazon Web Services’ Riccardo Degli Effetti; CyrusOne’s Gail Stapleford; Yondr’s Paul Hood and UTC Heathrow’s Candace Rose Kumi – discussed the benefits of their organisations becoming a UTC Heathrow partner.
The VIP Student Zone was busy with visitors throughout the two days with people wanting to find out more about Digital Futures and to connect with other industry professionals.
The UTC Heathrow students – donning snazzy yellow T-shirts – were excellent school ambassadors, speaking about the programme as well as to other exhibitors about their roles within the sector and their pathways to getting there.
The highlight of the event were the awards. Recognising that UTC Heathrow, with its focus on STEM learning and employer engagement, is an ideal environment to nurture new talent, the judges awarded UTC Heathrow and Partners the Best Talent Developer award.
A loud whoop went up when the announcement was made, and the group most definitely won the ‘most people on stage collecting an award’ award – particularly when all 17 students joined in!
Summing up the joy of the win, President and CEO of CNet Training, Andrew Stephens, who was instrumental in getting the initiative off the ground, said:
“It’s an amazing win for all of the partners, and the UTC and its students. It’s been a long time in the making – I’ve been invested in it for the last six years – but to see everybody run up to the stage, to see how excited they are and to see the students jump up on stage, it really means a lot. It’s a legacy we can be proud of – it’s something we can build on and replicate – there’s no excuse now for us not to have a talent pipeline. Congratulations to everyone who’s been involved – it’s brilliant and I’m so, so proud.”
Watch a video of the action-packed day here or enjoy the photo gallery below.
*The ten partners supporting the Digital Futures programme are: CNet Training (CNet), Virtus Data Centres, CyrusOne, CBRE, Amazon Web Services, LMG, ARK Data Centres (Crown Hosting Data Centres Limited), Yondr, Kao Data and Soben.