A bright future for Tech Partnership Degrees after outstanding Reading event

Degrees South Event at the Madejski Stadium Reading

This week, close to 400 students from 9 major universities joined almost 100 employers from 30 leading companies in Reading’s Madejski’s stadium for the Tech Partnership’s Student-Employer event.

Following on from a similarly successful event in Manchester in November, the Reading event brought together students from all undergraduate study years on the IT Management for Business (ITMB) and Software Engineering for Business degrees, giving them the opportunity to engage with employers, learn from key note speakers, and show their ability to apply academic theory to potential real-world scenarios through employer-judged challenges.

The Tech Partnership has run these events twice yearly since the launch of the programme over 10 years ago. This Reading event was the 22nd event of its kind, and the last one for the Tech Partnership which will be passing on the Tech Degrees programme to the newly-formed Tech Partnership Degrees company from September. Reassurance was given on the future of the programme with a planned smooth transition to the new company and strong, continued support from employers through the Tech Partnership Degrees Employer Board.

The Tech Allies Network created a year ago by Tech Degrees Alumni Ryan Clifford and Jon Carman – to bring together the network of alumni and students of the ITMB and Software Engineering degrees –  bid an emotional farewell to the Tech Partnership with a surprise tribute which summed up the spirit of the Tech Degrees community – initiative, collaboration and excellence.

Digital Leadership

Keynote speakers at the event included Judith Reece, Vice President of Digital Development at GSK, talking about the extraordinary changes technology is bringing to the healthcare market; Phil Smith, the Tech Partnership’s and formerly Cisco’s chairman outlining the digital futures we will all work within with 90% of new roles within 20 years requiring digital skills; and Simon Bolton, CIO of Jaguar Land Rover, explaining how the motor industry has become as much about technology as traditional mechanical engineering. There are now over 30 million lines of code in a Land Rover!

Delegates also had the opportunity to hone their project management skills through a highly interactive session provided by the FDM Group, who introduced students to the software development life cycle using Lego pieces.

Challenge and Opportunity

An essential component of these events is the student competition. Working with employers, the Tech Partnership sets challenges for first-year students second and final year students, to respond to an important aspect of technology in society with innovative business solutions. This year, the students were tasked with considering Smart Cities – i.e. the utilisation of technology, particularly the Internet of Things, to manage a city’s assets and communities and enable a better quality of life.

The competition was fierce for the student teams which presented to a panel of employer representatives, with a chance for interaction through a Q&A and constructive feedback after each presentation.

In addition to awarding winning teams this year, an extra incentive was offered to individual participants of a spot prize to win a day shadowing a leading CEO, CIO or CTO from the TP Degrees leadership board in their workplace for one day, with 19 organisations generously offering this incredible opportunity to talented students who really stood out to the judges.

(See below for a list of winners)

Tech Partnership Degrees – The Future

As previously announced, while the Tech Partnership will cease operations in August 2018, because of the passionate response from employers and educators to keep Tech Industry Gold accredited degree programmes in existence, the degree programmes will continue under the jurisdiction of a new not for profit organisation, Tech Partnership Degrees.

The new employer board, which will set the strategic direction for Tech Industry Gold accredited Degrees and Degree Apprenticeships, held its inaugural meeting at the Madejski stadium just prior to the event. Tech Industry Gold degree programmes are currently being undertaken by over 1,500 students in 20 universities and by over 1,250 degree apprentices from 80 companies. News of this commitment to continue these programmes, from which 87% of students graduated with 1st or 2:1s last year, and for which there is virtually no known unemployment because of the high level of employer participation, was roundly welcomed by educators, employers and students in attendance.

The Tech Alliance: The Power of Alumni Communities

Finally, there is no greater testament to the effectiveness of a great student experience than seeing its alumni giving back, to ensure that future students benefit from the same opportunities that they were able to experience. This is never more true than with Tech Industry Gold, and we were delighted to welcome to the stage at the event, Ryan Clifford (now a Corporate Banking Graduate Analyst for Barclays) and Jon David Carman (now a Technology Business Partner for GSK), who in addition to managing very busy work lives, have created a new alumni community for students and alumni from Tech Industry Gold accredited programmes: the Tech Allies Network.

The Tech Allies announced the launch of a new Summer Institute- a 4 week insight programme in collaboration with GSK, IBM, and a financial services organisation (to be announced shortly), with more to be added; offering students a real life insight into how technology is innovating their industries.

Congratulations to all our winners

Smart Cities Competition

First year winners: UCL
First year highly commended: Loughborough
First Year Individual spot prize: Wenwen Zheng from UCL
Joint runners up: UCL 3 & Queen Mary

Second / Third year winners: Oxford Brookes
Second / Third year highly commended: Hertfordshire University, University of Chichester

CEO/CIO Shadowing winners

Oladimeji Achilefu (Hertfordshire), Austine-Chukwuemeka Ajuwa (Hertfordshire), Aman Badhan (Loughborough / IBM), Karolina Bargiel (QMUL), Shishank Chhetru (Oxford Brookes), Thomas Chalmers (QMUL), Aaron Gilbert (Chichester), Palak Goel (Loughborough), Christopher Goldsbrough (QMUL), Emanuel Maccotta (Loughborough), Tamara Maggs (Loughborough), Sudhansu Malla (UWE), Dhruv Mehta (UWL), Mary Obeme (Aston), Joanna Phillips (UCL), Saabeh Shafique (Oxford Brookes), Akul Sharma (UWE), Avinash Somarajam (Oxford Brookes), and James Weston (Chichester)

Active tweeter of the day


Thank you to our employer supporters and sponsors

  • GSK (headline sponsor)
  • Accenture
  • ARUP
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Capgemini
  • CGI
  • Deloitte
  • FDM
  • Fujitsu
  • IBM
  • NFU Mutual
  • P&G
  • Pepsico
  • SAS
  • UKcloud

Thank you to our university partners

  • Aston University
  • University of Chichester
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • Loughborough University
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • QMUL Queen Mary University
  • UCL University of Central London
  • UWE University of West of England Bristol
  • UWL University of West London

Feedback on the day

“As ever, The Tech Partnership #SouthEvent continued its legacy in delivering and exceeding expectations. Yesterday in particular was a very insightful and a real eye opener event, highlighting the important role we will play in one of the most exciting times in the industry. It was a pleasure to engage with fellow students and the companies driving and leading the way in the digital economy. Learning about their R&D, pipelines and their vision for the future was very exciting.”
Avinash Somarajan, Final Year ITMB student at Oxford Brookes

“I am extremely proud of my team, who won 1st place for the Smart Cities challenge at The Tech Partnership South Event! Krasimir Kirilov, Sandy Wing Yu Lau, Mariana M. Azlan and Bernard Liu – it was an absolute joy working with all of you and I have learned so much about planning, time management, teamwork and presentation skills on this exciting journey over the last few weeks. The group came up with an innovative idea for individual energy management and monitoring using an IoT Smart Meter and presented it in front of a panel of judges.”
Patryk Sobczak, ITMB student at UCL

“The Tech Partnership #SouthEvent was great yesterday! Great activities and opportunities to network.”
Mary Obembe, ITMB student at Aston University

“Had an amazing day at The Tech Partnership #SouthEvent. Loved getting to catch up with fellow alumni and feel very proud that the competition teams I helped coached from UCL and University of Chichester did so well with prizes! Also, looking forward to working with alumni on the Tech Allies Network to deliver the first Summer Institute pilot working with IBM and GSK – a game changing initiative for the student experience.”
Ryan Clifford, Graduate Analyst at Barclays

“Yet again another amazing day at the The Tech Partnership #southevent. Year on year, I’m constantly blown away by the continued enthusiasm and engagement from the ITMB students. I was proud to introduce Judith Reece our VP of Digital Development who discussed skills in the digital economy. To round off a fantastic day the Tech Allies Network launched our summer institute program.”
Jon David Carman, SAP Certified Technology Business Manager at GSK

“Had the pleasure of going to one of the best careers events in recent memory today at Reading Football Club with the Tech Partnership. So many engaged, enthusiastic, young people and lots of great questions. Thank you for having us!”
Mike Proctor, UK Graduate & Apprentice Attraction & Engagement Lead at Capgemini

“Fantastic day @ The Tech Partnership #SouthEvent meeting inspirational graduates, discussing digital skills of the future and the amazing opportunities we have here available at #telent!”
Mark Toole, Network Services Training Manager at telent Technology Services Ltd

“It was an amazing experience. I was very impressed by the groups that presented, their original ideas, business cases and how they handled themselves during Q&A. Also their awareness of the tech industry and regulations, I never expected to have meaningful discussions on GDPR and its impact on block chain/distributed ledgers.”
Mark Prout, Digital Transformation Officer at CA Technologies