Fire Tech launches a revolutionary approach to work experience in tech careers for young people

13th October 2020

Fire Tech, the edtech company that runs cutting-edge tech camps for 8 to 17-year-olds, is today launching a revolutionary way for young people to experience tech careers.

Virtual Work Experience

Fire Tech’s Virtual Work Experience gives teens aged 15 to 19 exposure to life in a tech company, accessible from anywhere in the world. Over 5 weeks, students discover what it’s like to work in a range of technology businesses, tackling realistic, industry-specific projects and working directly online with their own “boss”, who gives them regular check-ins and on-going support throughout. Participants finish with their own portfolio of projects, a tailored skills report and a job reference to take into their future careers.

Access to quality work experience is vital in unlocking young people’s potential, and inspiring them to enter the careers they’ll love. Yet, according to The Careers and Enterprise Company, only half of schools are offering the majority of students meaningful work experience by the end of year 11 – and this drops to only a third in the sixth form.

In tech industries, the gap between what young people need to be able to deliver in the world of work and what they are taught at school is particularly acute. At the same time it is becoming more difficult for companies – and in particular tech companies which are increasingly the engine of our economy – to host work experiences.

For Young People aged 15-19

Fire Tech offers Virtual Work Experience to young people aged 15 to 19, providing an accurate experience of working at a company in a variety of cutting-edge tech industries. Students will experience the tools, projects and feedback that they would get as an entry-level worker in a tech-focused business. Students can discover what it would be like to work for a creative design studio or video game design studio, tackling realistic, industry-specific projects – in graphic design, animation, audio and video design and more.

Fire Tech’s virtual bosses are specialists in the technology field you’re working in. They’re also experienced instructors and managers, whose priority – just like in a real workplace – is to help students do their best work and be successful. Students will work with their boss to establish preferences and interests and agree on a programme of projects, tailored to their interests, that is just like what they’d experience as a new entrant to the sector. Regular check-ins and email support mean your virtual boss is always there to help you stay on track.

Here’s how Virtual Work Experience works:

    1. Friendly induction: meet your live boss online, learn how Virtual Work Experience works, and select your first, industry-specific, tech projects.
    2. Real tech projects: students take on projects are based on real tech industry requirements, and resources and work tools exactly as used by the industry, and students work at their own pace, typically 4-6 hours a week for 5 weeks. Students can also change “jobs” at any point.
    3. Regular online team meetings: students receive ongoing help and support from their “boss”, including celebrating successes, as well as ongoing email and chat support.
    4. Finish with a flourish! Students are each awarded a tailored skills report, a portfolio of projects, and Virtual Work Experience reference before celebrating their achievements at a virtual leaving party!

Founder and CEO of Fire Tech, Jill Hodges, said:

“There has never been a more pressing need to give young people access to quality work experience to give them the best chance of happy, successful future careers. Existing work experience offers too often come through family connections, reinforcing the difficulties for young people to achieve social mobility.  Even when young people do get work experience, many times it is not very substantive. We want to change that and offer virtual experiences that guarantee young people a chance to develop work-ready digital and social skills, with live mentor support, in a format that is accessible anywhere in the world. We have designed this to be “IRL+”, a virtual experience that is even better than most traditional work experiences.”

“With this innovative programme, we want to bring future skills closer to the world of work, allowing more students to have the confidence and exposure to be work-ready.”

About Fire Tech

Fire Tech’s mission is to give young people the tools and inspiration to become the tech creators, makers and leaders of the future. We have delivered over 70,000 learning experiences to young people across five continents. Courses include Python coding, AI, cybersecurity, robotics and digital media production. Each workshop is designed to teach young people 21st-century skills such as design thinking, collaboration and problem-solving. All of our programmes are taught by tech-savvy teachers from some of the UK’s leading universities. We run holiday and residential camps, and courses in school term times in over 20 locations across the UK.

Each year, Fire Tech supports thousands of students via their online courses taught by expert tutors from the UK’s leading universities like Cambridge University, Imperial and King’s College London.

Since launching, the company has delivered over 70,000 learning experiences to young people across the world and partnered with some of the world’s biggest brands like Amazon and Barclays, and with international governments in Oman, the Seychelles and Gibraltar.

Jill Hodges started the company seven years ago when she realised that she couldn’t find a way for her own kids to learn creative tech skills, either in or out of school. She wanted to provide a place where kids could get their hands dirty and experiment with a wide range of technology concepts. 

The UK needs an additional 38,000 workers with computer science-related skills, including 21,000 computer science graduates, to meet labour demands every year – or the economy faces losing out on an estimated £33 billion a year by 2030, according to recent independent economic research conducted for Amazon by Capital Economics.

Contact details

Contact: Michael Cotter, Fire Tech UK Head of Product




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