Haverstock School and Icon
Diversity and inclusivity still have a way to go in the tech space. That’s why, for quite a few years now, Icon has been working with various partners to support grass roots initiatives focussed on reaching a wider community and inspiring the next generation to improve diversity within technology. We’ve taken part in mentoring programmes, supporting A level students in their next career choices, and even ran a STEM event for 100 girl guides (aged 5-11) – which is no mean feat!
Our largest grass roots initiative to date has been the one that we just completed with Haverstock school based in North London. Following an inspirational chat with their Careers and Aspirations Lead Nina Morris-Evans, we created a bespoke programme for 150 A level students, which we’ve run over the past 12 months despite the challenges the pandemic has thrown everyone’s way. Nina said: “The partnership with Icon Solutions has had a transformative impact on the year 12 students at Haverstock School. As a result of the pandemic, the vast majority of them had never been to a workplace.”
Tom Kelleher said about the experience: “What came as a bit of a surprise to us was that we were actually equally inspired by the students. Their enthusiasm, intelligence, and good humour were clear to see in every single session we ran – and they are a credit to themselves, their families, and the school.”
The purpose of the programme was to give each student the opportunity to firstly experience a day in a working office, and secondly to provide an overview of all the different roles and opportunities within technology. We wanted to show them that it’s not all about coding, there’s analysis, architecture, recruitment, HR, sales and marketing, and so on. It was great to see the enthusiasm and energy from the students and the Icon team alike.
Reflecting on this project and the past 12 months, we realised that not only had we ordered an exceptional number of pizzas (200 +)!, to keep everyone fed and energised throughout each session, we’d also had 25 of our employees commit over 500 work hours across a total of 20 days. With all this great support we’ve seen from our colleagues, we’ve now completed enough sessions to cover all 150 students. “Icon went beyond just a workplace visit and enlightened the students about the world of technology, while giving them a genuinely enjoyable activity-packed day. They all returned enthused about how much they learned about both the working world and the every day application of computing,” Nina told us after the event. Look what lovely feedback we received from the students.
We’re looking forward to providing work experience placements to some of the students from the school later this year, to give them a more detailed insight into the world of tech, and who knows, perhaps we’ll have some of them joining us in a few years’ time! “In addition to the importance of broadening student horizons, the day at Icon had a practical impact of providing strong evidence for them to include in all of their university applications. Truly a lifechanging
experience, and we are so grateful to everyone at Icon Solutions for their generosity.” Nina Morris-Evans, Careers and Aspirations Lead.
“It was a great experience finding out about job sectors I’d never learned about before”
The day gave me an insight into what you can do with computing beyond computer science. It showed how relevant software engineering is in the working world.
“Overall an amazing experience!!”
“Very helpful to get to see professions that don’t require a specific course or even a university degree”.