Throughout the year we’ve welcomed schoolchildren from across the region to our offices for Workplace Safaris, in partnership with the Greater Manchester Apprenticeship and Careers Service (GMACS). But what are Workplace Safaris and why are we hosting them? Read on to learn more.
Workplace Safaris inspire the future
In 2019, Andy Burnham, Metro Mayor of Greater Manchester, launched Meet Your Future – the organisation charged with creating the Workplace Safari scheme. Its aim is to help young adults experience the world of work for themselves and gain a foothold in the career pathways that they may end up following.
Young people need the opportunity to imagine their working futures, and Advania provides the chance to experience the tech sector as a potential industry of choice.
We’re proud to be the first Microsoft partner to consistently deliver this initiative in our region, with our first Workplace Safari in May 2023 hailed as a
Welcoming Hyde High School and Parrenthorn High School to Advania’s Manchester office, Nick Isherwood, Group CIO and Azure Product Director, summed up the purpose and the vision of the event.
“We’re delighted to welcome the schools to Advania to engage with all of our teams about what the world of work looks like, what technologies we use and work with our customers on, and to really engage the students on career options that they may take as they near the end of their schooling.”
Watch our Workplace Safari film and hear more from our people, our guests and staff from Hyde High School.
Opening doors to career pathways
Central to the day’s theme was the chance for our people and the students to network in an informal and educational setting, with our guests discovering the pathways that led Advania’s staff to the sector. The pupils had multiple opportunities to ask questions and gain insights into the day-to-day realities of working in tech.
The pupils met with professionals from various segments of the business, with eye-opening breakout sessions that drew on their tech knowledge and their problem-solving and creative skills to complete collaborative tasks together with Advania experts. Showcasing a variety of specialisms was key to shine a light on the fact that, although we’re a tech company at our core, Advania offers career growth in other areas including HR, sales, marketing and finance.
Central to the day’s theme was the chance for our people and the students to network in an informal and educational setting, with our guests discovering the pathways that led Advania’s staff to the sector.
The students also mingled with a number of Advania apprentices, quizzing them on their experiences and finding out more about their routes into employment with us.
The impact on the students was immediate, with one commenting that simply “seeing the workplace and the workforce helped gain an understanding of what working life is like”.
Thea Fineren, Advania’s Chief People Officer, highlighted the crucial importance of presenting career opportunities at young adults at the right time.
“I’m a strong believer that you can’t dream and strive for something that you don’t know exists,” she said.
“If we can paint that picture and show them what career choices are available to them, then they have something to dream for while it becomes a reality.”
Future careers with AI and cyber security
With AI constantly in the headlines, there was keen interest in our latest solutions involving tools such as Advania’s Private ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot. The groups engaged with our artificial intelligence tools and saw for themselves the possibilities that AI interaction offers businesses, including creating presentations from scratch via a simple command to Copilot.
Cyber security, another topic that frequently makes headlines, was covered in a lively session from Ollie Quay, Advania’s Security Operations Manager. Encouraging the students to think laterally and embrace the codebreaking challenges he set them, Ollie presented a day-in-the-life set of problems for a security operations centre – which went down a storm.
“[I enjoyed] the security escape room, because I love solving puzzles and mysteries,” said one student, when asked for his favourite experience of the day.
Workplace Safaris point to a bright future for tech career pathways
Reflecting on the day, Vanessa Amdurer, Hyde High School’s Careers Advisor, explained why the interaction between students and professionals is so important.
“It’s a really meaningful experience, because they get to see what it’s like in the real world,” she said.
“This is ideal – they get to take part in real-life activities with the breakout sessions which have been fantastic, and the student have been really enthusiastic about it.”
Her comments were echoed by Umesh Patel, Hyde’s Head of Digital Communications and Digital Teaching and Learning Lead.
“It’s been a really good day. I think getting the kids out into a workplace to see what it’s like holding a job has been really valuable.
“Even though it’s a tech company, they’ve got to see the range of jobs they can do, and the routes from where they are into a place like this.”
Summing up the Safaris, Nick Isherwood was delighted with the results.
“All in all, it’s been a fantastic day. The initiative that Advania has become part of working closely with the GMCA and Microsoft is proving to be a real success, not just for the local schools, colleges and universities in our area, but for our people to get involved in this initiative and feel like they’re giving back to the local region, enthusing the talents of the future.”
The Microsoft Partner Pledge: improving the world for everyone
We know that our professional relationships are not simply about our technological capacity. As a longstanding Microsoft partner, it’s about a shared commitment to improving the world around us for everyone.
With minority groups and underprivileged areas continuing to suffer disproportionately with issues such as unemployment and the digital skills gap, we know that it is incumbent on us to encourage and support everybody, not just our own people.
We’re proud signatories of the Microsoft Partner Pledge, a rallying point for businesses sharing Microsoft’s values to make more possible for people, industry and society as a whole.
The pledge includes three core ideals, two of which speak precisely to this goal – to grow talent in our industry and to enhance diversity and inclusion. Workplace Safaris are a direct answer to these challenges, helping shape the futures of young people and impacting the opportunities they have when entering the workforce. We want our sector to be attainable for all, regardless of background and personal circumstances, helping to make it a growing and exciting industry.
These goals sit squarely behind the third ideal of the Partner Pledge, namely to shape a desirable world.
From encouraging young adults to consider the tech sector as their industry of choice to promoting an atmosphere of shared success across the business, discover why we’re the tech company with people at heart.