</The Foundry – Bringing digital work experience & intrapreneurship opportunities to learners>
Industry experience goes a long way towards helping graduates secure their first role. But for many students, a traditional placement is too expensive or impractical. The Institute of Coding (IoC) is breaking down these barriers to work experience by bringing industry to learners. The IoC funded The Foundry, a technology hub at The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), where students can work on paid industry projects without leaving campus.
The IoC is a growing consortium of education, industry and outreach partners. UWE Bristol, one of our 35 higher education partners, was given funding by the IoC for The Foundry project.
Barriers to traditional placements
Many students leave university without gaining the skills employers are looking for. Work placements can help graduates to bridge this gap, but it can be difficult for some students to get this type of experience, especially if they are required to relocate, which can be costly and takes some people away from important caring responsibilities at home.
Opening The Foundry at UWE Bristol
To help more students interact with industry and get relevant paid experience while they study, we’re investing in unique and innovative spaces at universities across England.
One of these spaces is The Foundry Technology Affinity Space at UWE Bristol, which was opened in May 2019 by representatives from the university, the IoC and Minister Chris Skidmore. Formerly a disused Students’ Union bar at the UWE Frenchay campus, it’s now been redesigned into a technology and innovation hub with hot-desking areas, co-working zones, a board room, and casual breakout and presentation areas. This allows students from different courses to interact, build friendships and learn from each other.
The Foundry gives employers the chance to set live briefs or tasks for teams of UWE students, as well as paid consultancy and research projects. As a result, students can interact with industry without leaving campus.
The space is also a dynamic location for technology events to be held, so learners can engage more widely with the digital sector before they graduate and meet employers from Bristol and the surrounding areas.
“As well as housing UWE Bristol’s Enterprise Studios, The Foundry is also a digital event space. Computer science, creative technologies, and cybersecurity are among the fields set to feature in a high-profile calendar of technology outreach and engagement events”
– Chris Skidmore, MP and former minister of state for universities, science, research and innovation
Since opening, The Foundry has given many students the chance to add work experience to their CV and increase their employability. By applying their subject knowledge to industry challenges, they’ll leave university ready for their first workplace role.
“With employers crying out for new candidates who are workplace-ready, and students seeking valuable experiences to bolster their CVs, this new facility will help thousands of young people take the first step in their career.”
–Dr Rachid Hourizi, IoC director
“I met many people in The Foundry, who had a very similar mind-set, but worked in completely different industries, which was not only inspiring at times, but has also let me learn new technologies from different areas.”
Leo Bagnucki, UWE student