I spent this morning in the company of academia, industry and government as a ConnectED event. ConnectED is a fund used to create opportunities of collaboration between the colleges and universities. The aim was to try to foster some collaboration potential between the groups. I took some notes from our table (one of 5 tables I think) and was volunteered to present at the end of it. The felt-tip shows the main points.
There will be a further event to help foster this but the real wins for me were to get in touch with folk in QUB in the Knowledge Transfer Centre as well as some contacts within SARC.
There was a lot of consensus that there needs to be (at least one) hub for the creative industries (including software and digital media) in the North of Ireland. This is kinda what we’re trying to do with StartVI but without the large funds that ConnectED can provide.
It was startling how little interaction there is between industry and academia in truth – even the difficulties voiced by academia in getting productive student placements within industry. We need to work on that – not necessarily to change courses but to foster understanding. It is not the role of education to prepare an individual for work in a company but rather to educate them to be able to work in any company. And there is an onus on the students to make themselves indispensable to the businesses with whom they are placed. There is significant culture clash between academia and industry – whether it’s the timing of the academic year, the pressure of deadlines or the appreciation of impact on a business that a single student can make, positive or negative.
For our part, StartVI intends to take on a lot of placement students. And if they make themselves indispensable, then they’ll get work from the startups. If not, there’s always a McJob.