One of the great things about working for a global company is the impact you can have in your local city, be that at the QAD headquarters in Santa Barbara or in my hometown of Wroclaw, Poland. We are very proud to have started a student training project here in Wroclaw, and we call it, “My Future in Technology” (link in Polish). It was initiated last year by QAD, Nokia, Capgemini and four other Wroclaw IT companies: Objectivity, Gigaset, Espotel and Techland. Together, with city authorities, we got in touch with high school students and their parents to encourage them to pursue math and science, and to present them with the wide range of possibilities that IT offers in their local community.
My Future In Technology: From Idea to Reality
The idea came to me during one of the quarterly meetings of HR@IT Club, an association of HR representatives from over 25 of the biggest IT companies in Wroclaw. I realized that in our current educational system a teenager — my son, for example — needs to determine his future career at the age of 17 by choosing his focus. If a teenager changes their mind by 19 years old, it will be very hard and require a lot of additional work to close gaps. When I realized that, I also thought that many parents might not be aware — as I wasn’t yet — that kids need our support in keeping up when math or science become more advanced, especially when they feel tempted by choosing majors based upon the charisma of a teacher.
I started by sharing my realization with my HR colleagues and proposed that we do something about it. I was very happy that it resonated! That’s how “My Future in Technology” came to life. To bring more focus on topics we added “teamwork” and “women in IT” to the project.
How “My Future in Technology” Works
The project started in March and finished in June. It had two tracks: one was to meet in person with students and parents from selected schools — two per company. The second consisted of quizzes that could be answered by all students in Wroclaw. To answer the quizzes students had to create and register teams to film the answers and post them to our website. Other students could then vote on these answers, so in the end we had a lot of students involvement. The school with the biggest number of active teams won a 3D printer!
In the first track the QAD team met at schools with 100 parents and 100 students who ranged in age from 16-17. That came out to seven visits for myself and Agnieszka Mazur, QAD’s Poland Global Resource Center Manager. We ran presentations for the students and parents, answered their questions and demonstrated the benefits of working in the technology industry in Wroclaw. We then invited a selected group of 15 for an open house at QAD where employees gave presentations on their careers. We also had a workshop on production planning to help the students understanding in order to pass a QAD quiz. Our production planning scenario was chosen to be answered by the whole Wroclaw teenage population. Our program concluded in June when we invited ten girls from local schools for a programming workshop run by QAD R&D.
Overall we had a great response to the program. Everyone who participated found it very valuable and we look forward to doing it again. All of the quizzes submitted were posted to the website, and you can watch them here (link in Polish). We look forward to what talented students and projects will come out of next year’s program!