Jaime Beaumont, the recently appointed Director of Computer Science at the Senior School, has kicked off his new role here at Framlingham College with the introduction of a new national awards scheme for digital, enterprise and employability skills development. The award-winning Inspiring Digital Enterprise Awards (IDEA) is being offered to pupils across the school immediately and will give them a chance to gain either their Bronze, Silver or Gold qualifications. We caught up with Mr Beaumont to learn more about the scheme including how it helps pupils access careers in the ever-growing technology sector.

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He said: “Pupils complete a series of online badges and tasks, with business and computing application. They have to demonstrate their skills in various challenges within different Computer Science categories to then work towards their Bronze badges. It’s similar to the Duke of Edinburgh, but for digital skills. Year 9 will have two lessons on it then it’ll be a case of them going on to do it themselves and hopefully many will achieve their Bronze by the end of the academic year.”

The IDEA award is separate to pupils’ academic study in Computer Science and will be introduced through Mr Beaumont and the Computer Science team during their lessons for pupils to take further independently. The IDEA web portal describes the service as: “The Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, known as IDEA is an international award winning programme that helps you develop digital, enterprise and employability skills for free.

“Through our series of online challenges, you can gain career-enhancing skills, unlock new opportunities and, ultimately, achieve industry-recognised Awards that help you stand out from the crowd.”

The scheme consists of a series of virtual ‘badges’ which pupils must complete and collect to progress their level and work toward achieving their Bronze award. One of the advantages of the IDEA platform is that it is web-based and therefore pupils can access work modules from anywhere and on any device. Modules are varied in their nature, testing the diversity of pupils’ skills, including GIF Making, jQuery Coding, User Experience knowledge and Video Editing.

Mr Beaumont adds: “Digital literacy skills are vital in almost every industry and career path. This award is very useful for the students that have not opted to study Computer Science at GCSE or A-Level as it acknowledges they have these very desirable skills.”

The UK currently has a shortage of technology professionals and Mr Beaumont sees the clear opportunity for pupils, who are interested in developing a technology career, in taking Computer Science at GCSE, A-Level and later at university. He says: “There is a worldwide shortage of skills in the Computer Science and technology industries therefore there are plenty of highly skilled, well-paid jobs. We will do everything we can to support our pupils’ passion and development.”

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