Bo’ness pupils pop the question to IT giants

Computing teacher Lorna Tilley helps her students with their IT studies.
Computing teacher Lorna Tilley helps her students with their IT studies.

Twelve pupils from Bo’ness Academy have received top tips from Scotland’s most successful technology entrepreneurs.

The S4 and S5 pupils were among 350 youngsters from across Scotland who attended the ScotSoft conference in Edinburgh.

Run annually by the digital technologies trade body ScotlandIS, it addresses what the organisation calls a “skills crisis” in the IT industry by capturing pupils’ interest.

Lorna Tilley, a computing teacher at Bo’ness Academy who accompanied the pupils on the trip, said: “It was a very careers-oriented event which was quite focused on getting girls involved in the industry.”

With only one girl in her Higher class, Lorna pointed out the tendency for girls to be put off by IT programming.

She added: “IT isn’t all about programming – it’s not just for geeks! There are so many aspects such as apps, web design and database work; it’s good for the pupils to see what’s on offer.

“They were surprised by the fact that a number of speakers didn’t originally come from computing backgrounds; they found the event very interesting.”

Despite 75 per cent of tech organisations planning on recruiting in the next year, the number of new graduates has not shown a significant increase.

Keynote speaker at the event was Sherry Coutu, a highly-respected Angel Investor who sits on the board of the London Stock Exchange.

She is also one of WIRED Magazine’s 25 Most Influential People in the World.

Other speakers included Chris Forrest, director of Microsoft Scotland and Sally Kerr, digital services manager for Edinburgh Apps, amongst others.

Pupils taking part had the chance to pose questions to the technology giants.