Amongst the many topics of conversation at Be-IT (from Fulham’s prospects of promotion to Christina’s Pepsi Max addiction), is the constant complaint, as documented time and time again in our blog pages, that the schools, colleges and universities in the UK simply do not do enough to interest youngsters in IT (and when they do the education they receive is sadly lacking). This manifests itself in the shortage of qualified and experienced people whom are clients demand in what seems like ever-increasing numbers. How to square this circle is going to be extremely important in the years ahead, especially given that we have enough other, more serious, problems confronting us now.
It’s difficult to enthuse young people about IT. Our marketing team scans the media daily, looking for news and stories that will be of use to our recruiters and resourcers. As we all know, bad news sells, so unsurprisingly much of what they see refers to the problems of technology. The same applies on social media, where most of the up-and-coming younger generation get their news. Whether it's hacker threats to electric vehicles or the problems our police are having with trying to extricate themselves from contracts involving Russian software, the news is unremittingly downbeat. Making negative associations with technology is hardly the way to influence the younger generation to take up coding.
What if there was a TV programme or a streaming series that highlighted all the good things that tech does for us? Chatting to one of our marketing team, I discovered that there used to be just such a programme, on prime-time BBC. It was called ‘Tomorrow’s World’ and only four people who work with Be-IT are old enough to have seen it. Almost all of our consultants had not heard of it, yet it was way ahead of its time. Presented by Raymond Baxter, a former Spitfire pilot in the Second World War, it is perhaps most remembered today for the episode where the CD (now a semi-redundant piece of tech) was first demonstrated. Yet it was a loud advocate for the power of computing more generally, as the video below shows. Wouldn’t something like this be very welcome today (BBC 3 anyone?), not just for those at school but for their parents and influencers too? As one of the comments below this video says, “No fancy graphics, no waffling, just straight talking - hands on explanations. Happy days!”
Finally, here’s a link to a compilation of Tomorrow’s World’s 1960s programmes about computers. It may seem very old indeed (‘cos it is!) but it’s nonetheless fascinating.
Matt Druce, Client Delivery Director, Be-IT Projects