Since the very beginning of Mesomorphic, engaging the next generation of developers and putting Shetland on the map for its digital economy has been at the very heart of our company. We believe that the digital sector adds another string to our economic bow and we want to create local employment opportunities and support the development of local talent to fulfil these roles.
Our engagement pipeline is built around sustainability and we work alongside numerous stakeholders to share resources and provide professional development training so that these sessions can be carried out without us being present. In addition to learning about digital skills, we also encourage the development of soft skills such as digital literacy, critical thinking and self learning. We want to educate parents and educators alongside groups such as Skills Development Scotland and Developing the Young Workforce about the different roles available within the digital sector so that when it comes time to think about future career paths, digital careers are considered along with more traditional roles such as engineering, medicine and mechanics.
Over the past 18 months, Silicon Croft has expanded outside the classroom and we are now working with Shetland Library to create more opportunities for CodeClubs and other learning opportunities within schools. Over the next few months we are looking to expand even further and provide training to groups such as Youth Workers, Career Advisors, Guide and Scout leaders. Our ultimate aim is to support the integration of digital skills at a curriculum level, and highlight the various opportunities within the digital sector on our islands. By supporting digital skills development, we will continue to address the skills gap which has been highlighted throughout the pandemic, and help increase the employability of our future workforce regardless of which sector they decide to join.
Outcomes of Silicon Croft
Cultivate homegrown talent
Starting at primary school and extending through to further education, we provide numerous learning opportunities such as CodeClub work experience and learning lunches to inspire future developers. We pride ourselves with building strong links between academia and industry as we feel that this is the best way to stay ahead of skills gaps before they get too large.
Encourage collaboration and innovation
Innovation lies at the core of Mesomorphic, and as we grow our professional network, we seek to attract more collaborative and further innovative projects to our islands. Our own projects will use as many Shetland based resources as possible, and we will use them to provide further learning opportunities to our students.
Put Shetland on the map for its digital economy
We are members of various committees and groups such as ScotlandIS, Digital Champions for Skills Development Scotland and we have helped to establish the digital skills hub in Dumfries and Galloway. We are constantly looking for opportunities to raise awareness of Silicon Croft and the digital economy within Shetland.
Our engagement pipeline
At the heart of Silicon Croft runs our engagement pipeline. In order for Silicon Croft to be successful, we need to ensure that it is sustainable and easily adopted. It starts at primary school and follows all the way through to graduate level. It brings in resources from national stakeholders such as Skills Development Scotland and strengthens the various pathways into digital careers. Through our network, we will bring projects and talent to Shetland and continue to put Shetland on the map for its digital economy.
What have we achieved so far?
We work alongside local and national stakeholders to share a wide range of resources and give back to our digital sector in Scotland. We are members of various groups and committees, ( full list here ) and over the past five years we have:
- Taken on two graduate apprentices, and became leaders in the software development programs
- Provided work experience to over ten students in three years
- Won an Innovation Voucher with UHI for project designed to improve a players mental arithmetic
- Assisted with the development of new apprenticeship in digital technology
- Provide career development sessions with graduates from CodeClan, and universities across Scotland.
- Successful launched the Meso Mug Shot to show areas off the island to our followers off Shetland
What are we going to do next?
Our library project
At the end of 2020, we partnered up with our local library with the aim of increasing the number of opportunities to develop digital skills both within our main and school libraries. By collaborating, we will increase the number of CodeClubs opportunities and introduce new resources such as the new Live Online Lessons from Skills Development Scotland. In August 2021, we will be holding our first cybersecurity training session with attendees from both inside and outside of the classroom where they will learn key terminology and run through an ethical hacking scenario to share with their students.
Celebrate STEM 2022
Next year we will be supporting an islandwide STEM event with SCDI to highlight the different STEAM opportunities on our island. We will have representatives from Engineering, Aquaculture, the Digital and Health sectors to show our students their potential future employers. It will also be a great chance for groups such as Skills Development Scotland and Developing the Young Workforce to speak with our employers to get up to date knowledge about what skills are needed within our industry.
Mesomorphic are very much a ‘critical friend’ of The OU, and their invaluable contribution continues to inform our developing upskilling and reskilling initiatives such as our Scottish Funding Council funded CodingSkills programme and Skills Development Scotland funded CodingSkills+ programme. The OU very much values the relationship we have with Mesomorphic, with their values very much in line with our own – to be open to people, places, methods and ideas – to break down barriers and to open up opportunity, being radical and forward thinking in approach.
Open University in Scotland
Maria came to deliver an industry insights talk to CodeClan students, which do what they say on the tin - give them an insight into what it's like to work in either the software development, data or tech industries. Maria's style was fantastic, most presenters will use a slide deck to talk about various topics, but Maria opted to get the attendees talking and hear their concerns about graduating out into industry, and offered solutions in the form of good educational resources and hints and tips from her own experience. It was a great talk and we look forward to welcoming Maria back!
Maria and the team at Mesomorphic have been a pleasure to work with on the Work Placement Programme. They offer placements to High school pupils across Shetland, either during their Schools set placement week or a bespoke placement to fit the pupil and their school timetable. Maria is very approachable and we are delighted with the effort put in by Mesomorphic to ensure pupils receive a meaningful experience within the world of Software Development, which can help pupils to make informed choices about careers paths..
Shetland Island Council
[We had]...a face to face presentation/talk with a group of my Higher Education students (HNC, HND, Degree). ... Discussions with the company Mesomorphic has highlighted new content we would need to add into our tutorials...The talk certainly has encouraged students to get involved wholesale in their project work (which was already set), so the engagement has been highly effective