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Freddie, our Outreach Assistant based at York College, tells us about Ada Lovelace Day...

So here at York College Careers Service one of the things we do is ‘themed’ careers events, often tied into national dates like National Apprenticeship Week. They are a great way of introducing students to broader careers options, apprenticeships and vocational higher education.

Who Was Ada Lovelace and why does she matter?

Ada Lovelace was the daughter of the romantic poet, Lord Byron. She later married the Earl of Lovelace. Her mother, anxious that the excesses of Lord Byron’s heady lifestyle should not fill her daughter’s head with similar ideas, insisted on a science-based curriculum for her daughter. She grew up to be a gifted mathematician and later collaborated with Charles Babbage on the earliest computers, contributing the first recognised algorithm. She became the ‘mother’ of computer programming.

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Ada Lovelace Day…

Ada Lovelace Day, the second Tuesday in October always has a special place for me. It was the first careers event I put on at York College, so I was unsure how it would go and what the students would think. I needn’t have worried: it was a great success and the students really engaged with it.

What did we do?

We held a series of interactive workshops from external speakers for engineering, IT, and science. Guests covered subjects like project management in engineering, careers in cyber-security, and world-leading research in chemistry. Positive information for girls was matched by plenty of general career information for everyone. It was good to see long queues of students waiting to speak to the guest speakers in more detail. We ended the day with a computer programming competition won by a female dance student!

We were able to get speakers from a local IT company with strong links to the college and also from the STEM ambassador programme, run by the National Science Museum.

How did FutureHY help?

By funding my role at college, FutureHY has enabled the college to bring more focus to students who need extra support to reach higher education, either through the traditional university route or through higher and degree apprenticeships. This includes more support for things like girls going into STEM.

The success of the event proved that real world contact with employers and industry professionals really benefits students and is something they enjoy. It opened up some horizons, publicised careers pathways, and recruitment options and proved that this kind of large scale event worked well in reaching hundreds of students!

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