Bletchley Open Event – Tuesday 10 August 2021
10:00am – 12:00pm · Sherwood Dr, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK3 6DR
Join us on 10th August for our open event to explore our courses, view the facilities, and meet our coaches. This event is for anyone looking to find out more about the South Central IoT, the digital sector, and higher-level technical qualifications, or for anyone who wants to get into the tech sector through a qualification or apprenticeship. The event is open to all whether you’re finishing school or college, have studied digital before, are working in the industry, or just want to find out more.
Will I be able to ask any questions during the event?
Absolutely – you will be able to meet our tutors and ask any questions that you have at the event.
Can I find out about digital apprenticeships at this event?
Yes! There will be a chance to find out about our digital apprentices, as well as our Higher-Level technical qualifications and brand new short courses.
Is there anyone I can contact before the event if I have any questions?
If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact the SCIoT team via email at email@example.com.
Register to attend
Reading Open Event – Thursday 22 July 2021
1:00pm – 6:00pm · Reading College, King's Road, Reading RG1 4HJ
Open to all learners who are looking at joining from September for the HNC Digital Technologies Level 4 programme at the South Central Institute of Technology at Reading College. Drop in between 1 – 6pm on Thursday 22 July.
Come and find out more about the course and speak to our trainers Andy Bleach and Preeti Vohra as well as student support, student finance and campus tours. Our sessions are ideal to drop in and answer any questions you have as well as picking up a goody bag.
What is an HNC and why choose one?
This Level 4 qualification provides the foundation of your learning, giving you a broad introduction to digital technologies and a range of digital technology specialist functions. The HNC Digital Technologies is a higher-level course, equivalent to the first year of a university degree programme. It concentrates on developing the right skills to succeed in the industry and prepares you for work in the digital sector. You can choose from a range of five pathways to specialise in, including Cyber Security, Cloud Networking, Data Analytics and Software Development and Programming.
Register to attendFind out more & register
SCIoT launch event blog
Last month saw the launch event for the South Central Institute of Technology - an evening packed full of useful and informative sessions.
The sessions covered a variety of topics, from equality, diversity and inclusion, to digital careers and the legacy of tech in Bletchley, as well as a live Q&A at the end of the event with questions from the audience. The SCIoT is grateful for everyone that attended, and hope that those who joined the event were able to learn something new.
If you missed out on the live broadcast, weren’t able to make it, or would like to revisit the different talks, you can watch the whole event back by following this link: South Central Institute of Technology Launch.
You can also view the individual sessions on demand via the SCIoT YouTube channel here:
1. An introduction to the South Central Institute Of Technology by Dr Julie Mills
2. What are Institutes of Technology & higher level technical qualifications with Gillian Keegan MP
3. Equality, diversity and inclusion at the South Central Institute of Technology
4. What’s it like to be a learner or digital apprentice at the South Central Institute of Technology?
5. What is the South Central Institute of Technology?
6. South Central IoT – what will the sites in Oxford and Reading be like?
7. The legacy of technology in Bletchley
8. Why are digital careers so important? From South Central Institute of Technology partners KPMG
9. What are the South Central IoT’s purpose and values?
10. The South Central Institute of Technology launch event – live Q&A
Meet the Coach: Simon Graves, Data Analytics
Our dual professional coaches bring a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise to our student’s in their chosen field. We’re very lucky to have Simon Graves, Head of Operational Governance at Sainsbury’s, as a Coach to our Data Analyst students and caught up with him to find out what he’s enjoying most about working with the SCIoT.
What do you do at the SCIoT?
I have established a working partnership and introduction to Sainsbury’s Data and Analytic resources to support our commitment to working with local communities and educational facilities.
This partnership has culminated in Sainsbury’s contributing to the HNC in Digital Technologies and Level 4 Data Analyst apprenticeship standard.
From the idea stage to landing this as an active module in the HNC curriculum, has taken place in less than 12 months, a remarkable achievement! We act at pace with the SCIoT as we do in the real world.
The module focuses on Data Analytics covering the theoretical foundation and a range of processes and techniques to provide a hands-on experience. Topics included in the unit are fundamental statistical concepts, data exploration, data cleansing, preparation and visualisation. Understanding Analytic maturity and progression through Descriptive, Predictive & Prescriptive Analytics and common methods and techniques found in each of these areas – a real range for the students to deliver and evidence against.
What are your credentials for working in your position?
I have 30+ years of experience in Data, specialising in Data Provisioning, Architecture, Data Management and Governance. All roles contribute and drive the exploitation of Data to enable informed, effective decisions and future direction for companies across many sectors, including, Finance, Insurance, Telco and Retail.
What is the benefit of working as a dual professional for you and our students?
We were an organisation that could offer the perfect storm of knowledge, expertise, presentation skills, regional accessibility and most importantly willingness to contribute.
The IoT shared many of our own values and focus areas, including a drive on diversity from a BAME and gender perspective.
The partnership has created an open channel for students to use our colleagues for mentoring, career advice and an insight into the amazing world of Data in Sainsburys.
What is your favourite thing about working at SCIoT?
Having visibility of the awesome future talent, seeing first-hand the students tackling problems and seeing how the next generation of Data/Analytical professionals operate.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Avid supporter of Manchester United and F1, a rollercoaster of emotions!
If you want to join our Data Analyst students and learn from Dual Professional Coaches such as Simon, take a look at this exciting pathway now.
What is it like to be a student on the Data Analytics pathway at SCIoT?
Dhivya Sachidanandan chose to study a HNC in Digital Technologies at the South Central Institute of Technology after the course was highly recommended to her by a friend. Dhivya hopes to use this course as a steppingstone to a career in bioinformatics. Read on to find out why studying at the South Central Institute of Technology was the best choice for her.
What did you enjoy the most about your course?
‘’All the course modules were so interesting, but I have to say that I enjoyed learning about a type of programming called Python, designing a database, and looking into analytics the most.’’
What do you think makes the South Central Institute of Technology stand out?
‘’The South Central IoT has got an amazing and very dedicated team of coaches who will collectively help you to go beyond what you think you are capable of. All the individual pathways that the SCIoT offer are really interesting as well, with fantastic career opportunities upon completion of the course, and some great apprenticeship programmes.’’
What do you hope to do after you have completed your studies?
‘’I have always had a keen interest in research, so I plan to combine this qualification in Digital Technologies with my qualification in Complementary Medicine to pursue a career in bioinformatics. After this I’ll look into studying for a PhD!’’
Interested in starting a career in digital technologies? The South Central Institute of Technology has a range of pathways that could be suitable for you. Take a look and apply.
South Central Institute of Technology Commits to Diversity
The South Central Institute of Technology (SCIoT) has made a firm commitment to equality and diversity by signing up to the Tech Talent Charter. The Charter is an agreement between businesses and education in the tech sector to both promote inclusion and importantly, to keep track of progress towards it by measuring and sharing levels of diversity. The Charter already boasts some big-name signatories including Microsoft, KPMG, Sainsbury’s, Dominos and various government departments.
Diversity in the Tech Sector
The tech sector has struggled for a long time to be more open and equal. According to a report from the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) only 19% of UK IT professionals are female and just one in ten sixth form students who are taking A-Level Computer Studies are female.
It also reports that while 14% of the UK working population is from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background, only 8.5% of senior leaders in the sector come from those communities. The figures are no better when it comes to disability. 19% of the nation’s workforce has a disability but only 9% of IT specialists. Meanwhile, there are 600,000 unfilled job vacancies in digital technology across the country at an estimated cost to the economy of £63 billion per year.
Alex Warner, Principal of the SCIoT, said,
“It is by design that “Inclusion” is the number one value of the SCIoT. In everything we do we want to look through a lens that is committed to widening access and participation and this includes everyone. By everyone we mean our students, our staff and the community we serve. We want all to know that at the SCIoT they belong, and they matter. Signing the Tech Talent Charter was an easy decision because of our aligned purpose and values. The Charter compels us to do more and be more within our ecosystem. We will closely monitor progress and share this with the Charter Group to help build an up-to-date national picture of how we are attempting to overcome social injustices. This is a national problem which all educational institutions and businesses need to address on an individual basis but we can also help each other by sharing best practice and promoting a united front.”
The SCIoT operates an EDI (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion) Steering Group and is already making progress in attracting students from harder-to-reach groups. Of students already recruited, 52% are from a Black, Asian, or Ethnic Minority background, 37% are disabled or neurodiverse, while 22% are female. Meanwhile, staff jobs are being advertised in places most likely to attract diverse applicants like Diversity in Tech, Women in Tech, IT Graduate jobs and various other Digital and IT-focused platforms. Alex said,
“The initial efforts appear to be having an impact, but our ambitions are to reflect the community we serve and we have to do more to reflect society across Milton Keynes, Oxford and Reading. We want to increase the number of students from all those areas from where fewer people have traditionally accessed Higher Education. If the plan is to “Level Up” we have to try to address all forms of inequality.
Debbie Forster is CEO of the Tech Talent Charter. Welcoming the SCIoT she said,
“The importance of greater inclusion and diversity in tech is, thankfully, no longer up for debate. Sectors and organisations now need to work together to shift the dial – and this will happen a lot quicker if we pool our successes, failures, ideas and learn from them to bring about real structural change. In our inaugural report, we stressed the importance of collaboration. One single company can’t do it alone, which is why we’re asking organisations to sign up to the Tech Talent Charter and join the movement (now approximately 500 Signatories). Companies can also access our TTC Toolkit, a set of free resources designed to help organisations improve their inclusion and diversity”.
My experience as a HNC Digital Technologies student at the South Central Institute of Technology
Deborah Mungai joined the South Central Institute of Technology to study Security and Networking this year after finishing her A levels. She began exploring the options open to her that would cater for her passion for tech, and reviewed universities, apprenticeships and South Central IoT.
Deborah’s schoolteacher managed to schedule a meeting with Laura, Head of Curriculum at South Central Institute of Technology, and the rest is history. Deborah tells her story about her experience.
“This turned into a golden opportunity for me as soon as I visited the college for the boot camp. The building is separated from all other buildings and it was so quiet and clean, there were only a few students around which was positive as the teachers can offer more advice one-on-one or in small groups. At the Digital Bootcamp we were presented with all of the modules involved in the course and what we would gain from these modules.
Throughout the course we have learnt so much from the tutors – they really speak from the heart because they have so much personal experience. The tasks we’re set really push you to communicate and ask for help from teachers and fellow students. I have enjoyed meeting new people, and the flexibility of the course means I can keep my part time job and my online business as well.
After finishing my course, I would want to get more experience in Cyber Security and to work for a big company like Cisco, Microsoft or Google, that would be a dream come true! I generally want to work and gain experience across different sectors, I could even help educate others.”
What would your advice be to someone interested in studying at the SCIoT?
“To those who may have finished school and might not know what they want to do after school, I would advise to try out the South Central Institute of Technology, it gives you the option to study further before you decide if you want to continue with higher education, begin an apprenticeship or straight into work. It can also help you decide what area of Computing or Games & Animation you want to specialise in.
I can’t say how much I love being part of the South Central Institute of Technology, it has given me so many opportunities and really opened my eyes to how I can achieve my goals.
South Central Institute of Technology is the best place to be!”
What’s it like to be a Games and Animation student?
Joshua is currently completing the Games and Animation pathway at the South Central Institute of Technology. After finding it difficult to find work during the Coronavirus pandemic, Josh was drawn to the friendly atmosphere at the SCIoT.
What do you enjoy the most about your course?
‘’I really enjoy how I’m able to interact with lots of different people from different age groups, as well as learning something new every day.’’
What do you hope to do in the future after your studies?
‘’I would love to go into the games industry to some capacity. I think it would be really exciting.’’
What advice would you give to people who are deciding on which pathway to complete at the South Central Institute of Technology?
‘’Make sure that you look at the different modules that each pathway contains and ask the Coaches to explain further about them to get a better understanding of what you’ll be doing, and if it is ultimately the right course for you.’’
Could a HNC in Games and Animation be the right pathway for you? Find out more.
Why studying at the SCIoT was a no brainer for Omar Finnerty
Omar Finnerty joined the South Central Institute of Technology on the HNC Digital Technologies Cyber Security pathway after finding out about it through his tutors at Milton Keynes College. Having already experienced the teaching and working style from the College, it was a no-brainer for Omar when deciding what and where to study next.
What drew you wanting to study at the South Central Institute of Technology?
‘’I already knew what the quality of the courses would be like first-hand. My experience on the course at MK College was extremely rewarding and exciting, so I knew that the level four course would be excellent. I was also drawn to the wide variety of subjects to study in Digital Technologies. Whilst my primary interest is in cyber security, I knew that the South Central IoT had other courses like programming, networking etc., that I could choose to pursue instead should my interests change.’’
What are you enjoying the most about your course?
‘’I really like the staff and teachers here at the SCIoT. The teaching on my Digital Technologies qualification has been impeccable and the support that has been given to aid students has been flawless.’’
What do you hope to do after you have competed your studies?
‘’My desired pathway is focused primarily on IT security. After completing my education, I hope to go into either a security-based role at a company or go into further education within a security orientated pathway.’’
What advice would you give to people who are trying to decide on which pathway to complete at the South Central Institute of Technology?
‘’Any of the pathways available at SCIoT will be beneficial to your future career. For example, the HNC Digital Technologies course has allowed me to gain a lot of experience with different IT fields, not just strictly in security.’’
Could a Digital Technologies HNC specialising in Cyber Security be the right pathway for you? Find out more.
Why Hok-Yu decided to join the South Central Institute of Technology
Upon completing his Access to HE course with MK College last year, Hok-Yu wanted to continue his studies in the field of digital technologies, and says that having been familiar with the College and its teaching style, strongly felt it beneficial to join the South Central IoT to improve his employability.
What are you enjoying the most about this course?
‘’I really enjoyed meeting likeminded individuals from different backgrounds. Being from a diverse background myself, it was great to meet so many people also from diverse backgrounds, as well as different age groups. It was good to work with those who are interested in the same industry as me and who have similar career aspirations.’’
‘’The visits and interviews we were able to have with people from industry was also a real highlight for me. It was really enjoyable, and I was able to gain some real insights into how the industry works.’’
What do you hope to do after you have completed your studies?
‘’I hope to obtain enough skills so that I can land a job in the IT industry and become a highly skilled and qualified professional, with the hopes to, in the future, become a front-end developer. Whilst I do enjoy other aspects in IT such as data science and networking etc., I would prefer to work with something that has a visual interface.’’
What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating studying at the South Central Institute of Technology?
‘’I would suggest that you have a clear goal of what it is you want to do with this course after you finish it, before you enrol. The course is a lot of hard work, so make sure that it is something that you want to do!’’
‘’I would also advise that you get familiar with the career path that your chosen pathway will lead to, so that you are able to learn the specific technology and skills that you need to build.’’
Interested in starting a career in digital technologies? The South Central Institute of Technology has a number of different pathways that could be suitable for you. Find out more.
Meet the Coach: Andrew Sheldon, Cyber Security
We’re incredibly lucky to have so many fantastic Coaches at the South Central IoT, many of whom work professionally within their area of expertise, bringing a greater level of current industry knowledge to our students.
A great example of this is Andrew Sheldon, a computer forensic consultant with more than 30 years of experience specialising in the investigation of digital crime, piracy, fraud and abuse in digital systems.
As well as being the Director of Innovation at CCL Solutions Group incorporating Evidence Talks Ltd, Andrew designs and delivers the Digital Forensics Unit of the Cyber Security module on the HNC in Digital Technologies at the South Central IoT.
Meet Andrew Sheldon
“In 2006 I was awarded one of the first Masters Degrees in Forensic Computing from Royal Military College of Science at Cranfield University. I was appointed a member of the MSc Degree management committee and was the module manager, developer and lecturer for the Internet Investigation module of the Degree.
I have been called as an expert witness in many criminal, civil and employment tribunals in cases involving computer forensic analysis and have conducted more than 1000 forensic examinations involving major fraud, data breaches, digital piracy, corporate espionage, corporate policy abuse, Child exploitation, copyright and IP theft, hacking, encryption and password recovery.
Since 2004 I have been responsible for developing specialist techniques and technologies used globally by digital forensic practitioners and first responders within the law enforcement, military, intelligence and corporate sectors.
In 2020 I was asked to design and build the new digital forensic laboratories at Cranfield University and my team at CCL and I have been contracted to design and develop the new Digital Forensics Masters Degree. I have also been appointed as Course Director for this degree.
I have always enjoyed helping others understand the complex and rapidly changing domain of digital forensics and the challenges we face as practitioners.
My role as Director of Innovation enables me to identify and develop new techniques in response to these challenges and I aim to share my enthusiasm for this branch of forensic science with students and illustrate how rewarding a career in digital forensic can be.
I really enjoy the interactive engagement with students during my lectures and the superb support I receive from the course manager, Paul Gartside. Every day is a learning day when you work in digital forensics.”
Find out more about our Cyber Security pathway.