TechPathways London was a two-year project, ending in 2021, designed to bridge the gap between the digital skills acquired in education and those required by London’s digital and creative industries. It offered a programme of free training for educators working with young people aged 11-24. Funded as part of the Mayor of London's Digital Talent programme, the project was a collaboration between the Connected Learning Centre, part of Education Development Trust, and Queen Mary University of London.
TechPathways London sought to help educators to develop their digital skills and to increase knowledge of, and access to, London’s diverse and growing digital sectors. Working closely with industry partners across London's digital and cultural sectors, the programme provided those working with young people the tools to support the skills development required to succeed in the modern workforce. The project resources helped educators improve their own digital skills and better understand the digital careers landscape that their young people are entering. In doing so, we ensured that the guidance shared with their young people is relevant, informed and up-to-date. Armed with this knowledge, London’s young people are able to make more informed choices about digital training and careers, setting themselves up for success.
Project resources on the website techpathways.london included:
- A blog containing up-to-date labour market information, features and interviews with people working in London’s digital industries. These include multimedia editor at nature.com Shamini Bundell, Snyk.io product manager Waleed Arshad, and founder of onlinemedialawuk.com Dr Holly Powell-Jones.
- An unconscious bias toolkit, providing educators with a framework to identify, challenge and mitigate bias within their setting, with particular focus on gender and technology. The toolkit is accompanied by the online course ‘Using the Unconscious Bias Toolkit’.
- Face-to-face courses, which have been run in-person or, since the pandemic, as video conferences. Courses have included G Suite for Education in collaboration with Google Education, Game Design in collaboration with Digital Schoolhouse, Digital Careers and Education in collaboration with Mark Martin, and a film careers festival in collaboration with BFI.
- Online courses hosted on the site for participants to take whenever convenient, which will be accessible until April 2023. They include Code Like a Pro – Scratch for future software developers, Creativity with iMovie, and The Future of Work produced in collaboration with Nic Ponsford and the Global Equality Collective
- Briefs for practical classroom challenges created by industry and education professionals, including critical literacy, online media law and digital making
- A fortnightly newsletter featuring upcoming courses, latest labour market information and information about opportunities for young people.
Over the course of the project, we worked with 986 London educators from 637 organisations. We engaged with educators through short courses, in-depth courses, briefs and events, including 53 unique live/in-person events (with an average live event rating 5.58 out of 6), as well as 19 online courses and 7 challenge briefs, which remain available for participants to access online until April 2023.
We also built up a network of industry experts who shared their knowledge and advice in courses, briefs and 23 interviews, in which they shared their paths to success and the digital skills that have got them there.
TechPathways London was highlighted as an EdTech 50 organisation, an accolade that recognised its "massive scope".
Feedback from educators was overwhelmingly positive:
“This has been exceptional in regards to my own knowledge of career pathways for my students.” – Educator attending Guardian - Careers in Digital Media
“The training was delivered excellently and was able to demonstrate how fun, accessible and creative the software is. I think the young people will enjoy experimenting with this very much and can facilitate their learning in a creative way.” – Educator attending Audio Editing and Podcasting course
“I will definitely be exploring the teaching of coding and developing my own skills.” – Educator attending Y6-7 Computing Transition Project
“[I] will definitely implement everything I learned to run workshops with the girls I work with.” – Educator attending Film Making with Mobile Devices
“[I have] better knowledge of careers and how students and teachers can look beyond the traditional routes.” – Educator attending Guardian - Careers in Digital Media
In terms of the impact of the programme on the learners these educators work with, feedback suggested that the impact would be:
"Massive. It will enable us to use tools to engage the disinterested population of the class.
Educator attending Teaching 21st Century Skills: Screen Media @BFI
“Learners will be able to share their thoughts with each other, document their ideas as well as create and share content. It will boost their digital skills and engagement with their learning.” – Educator attending Intro to: using collaborative tools
“Learners will have the opportunity to enhance their programming skills and use mathematical topics within programming.” – Educator attending Scratch Maths event with UCL
"Before any training or teaching exercise, I can now use numerous techniques to assess knowledge and plan exercises tailored to the amount of support needed by the group, as well as using more real scenarios/stories or acting to make concepts stick better." – Educator attending the Industry Pedagogy course
"The children will understand why we learn animation and where it can lead to." – Educator attending the 3D Animations course
The resources on the TechPathways London website will remain live until April 2023 so educators will still be able to access industry interviews, challenge briefs and online courses.
Our project partners at Queen Mary University London have written a research paper on one of the TechPathways courses, ‘Introduction to programming pedagogy for IT professionals’. It has been submitted to a computer science education conference and the QMUL team hopes that the work will be cascaded onwards by those who read our research and those who attended the professional development sessions, enabling TechPathways London to continue to improve the teaching and learning of digital skills for young people – both in London and across the world.