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Big Bang @ Worthing: Inspiring the next tech generation

Big Bang Worthing
Shana Austin (right) and Ngou-Long Kam (3rd right)

I’m Alex Jackson, Business Operations Manager based in our Worthing Digital Delivery Centre. Recently a few of us took part in a science fair at our local college to showcase some of the exciting things we do in HMRC’s Digital Service and help bring digital careers to life for students. It was a really rewarding and enjoyable day and here’s what happened.

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair was attended by young people from schools from the surrounding area. It celebrates and raises the profile of their achievement in science and engineering and encourages more young people to take part in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) initiatives, with support from their parents and teachers.

Shana Austin (Fast Stream Apprentice) and Ngou-Long Kam (Technical Tester) organised and ran our stand. We took with us the new G-Forms platform we built. This platform creates digital forms using JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), making it quite simple to understand and demonstrate to budding software engineers, while also being hi tech enough to impress the average teenager!

Big Bang event WorthingThere was a lot of excitement about our Virtual Reality headset, which was a real crowd pleaser, especially for the younger students. It was demonstrating something called our Galaxy tool that we’ve built and our developers use to visualise the microservices relationships they’re working on (imagine seeing a big map showing how lots of different complex pieces fit together to make a big service work). Later in the day parents arrived with slightly older teenagers and the visits to our stand became more career-focused.

One Computer Science teacher told us the technology we had taken along was just the right level to help her sixth form students to connect what they learn in the classroom with what people are actually doing in the workplace! This was a great compliment.

During the day I’m delighted to say that we were inundated with offers of more collaboration opportunities with the college, the event organisers, and other visitors from the local universities.

Here in HMRC we’re continuing to expand our digital capability, events like these are really valuable where we can encourage young people to consider government technology careers. It’s important that we help students understand that there are many routes into a digital career, and not all of them technical.

As our Worthing centre has grown extensively in the past 12 months, the timing of events like this couldn’t be better for us. I’m already looking forward to the next event and, even better, hopefully seeing some of the visitors to our stand joining us as apprentices in the near future.

Alex Jackson, Business Operations Manager

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