Embracing the tech revolution

STUDENTS at Ripon Grammar School are honing their digital skills to ensure they stay ahead in the workplace.

Industry experts are working with eight students to supplement an online digital marketing course recognised by the Open University.

Interactive workshops, alongside the chance of summer internships, are designed to ensure RGS students keep apace with the tech revolution transforming the careers market as new types of jobs emerge.

Work experience coordinator Bob Walker said students would not only gain a qualification in this growing and exciting field of commerce, but pick up invaluable, hands-on experience in the world of digital marketing.

James Titterington-Colman, 16, from Masham is among the first students to undertake the new course, working alongside experts from the Knaresborough-based ecommerce electric heating retailer Ignition Group PLC.

Studying geography, history and RE at A-level, James is currently exploring apprenticeship routes: “I am looking at lots of things as I’m not quite sure what I want to do, but this is so varied, you can find something that interests you. There is such a wide range of things you can choose to specialise in.”

Following 40 hours of studying the 26-module course, run by Google, students who pass the 40-question exam will gain a certificate in the fundamentals of digital marketing, which is also recognised by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe.

Annabelle Paterson, 17, from outside Ripon, said she was looking forward to having a qualification she could put on her CV: “I did get a computer qualification in my third year and I really wanted to expand my own knowledge.”

A keen photographer, she would like to set up her own website to sell her photographs one day: “The world is becoming so technology driven, you can use it in any career,” she adds.

Ignition will be offering a number of digital internships to RGS students at the end of the course, and the RGS careers department has also been in discussion with a number of other companies interested in getting involved.

Ignition’s digital marketing manager Cal Fenn - who said he was extremely impressed by the five RGS interns who worked at his company last year - explained how the interactive workshops would cover everything from analytics and data insights to business strategy, content email and local marketing, display advertising, ecommerce, search engine and web optimisation, social media and video.

Mr Walker added: “Last year’s students were able to experience two to three weeks of working within different areas of the business including finance, marketing, ecommerce, data analysis and content writing, enabling them to combine digital learning with practical application to the business world.”

Stressing that RGS is committed to enhancing employability skills and making links with the needs of the working world, he added: “The skills learnt on this course are clearly much sought after by future employers and as such will be invaluable in adding a further dimension to a CV, enhancing job prospects across all areas of work.”

The course is open to all lower sixth form students and there are still places available.

*If you can offer digital internships to RGS students interested in improving their skills please contact Mr Walker at WalkerB@ripongrammar.com or head of careers Jill Locke at LockeJ@ripongrammar.com