In January 2018, Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, which Aldridge Education is a partner of, launched Flipside – a programme which propels talent from East London into digital careers.
Young adults, known as ‘Flipsiders’, who participate in the programme are given an overview of digital product design through a blend of hands-on experiences and classroom learning. On the ‘flipside’, leading digital businesses are given access to a wide pool of young creative talent. To kick-off the programme, the first cohort of Flipsiders were asked to summarise the programme’s mission, they came up with the following:
“We are collectively reshaping the future of the digital industry.”
In the run up to the launch, Ada collaborated with leading digital design businesses, including ustwo Sennep and Made By Mary, over a period of six months in order to design and develop the programme.
Flipsiders are given two live briefs which task them to design a digital product. They work in groups to establish who the potential users of the product are, generate insights, create prototypes and work towards pitching the product at the end of week five of the programme. They are currently working with a digital product studio, ustwo, and a digital agency, Sennep, on their first brief – a denim start-up which aims to disrupt the retail fashion industry by making jeans with a history.
The agencies provide participants with ‘just-in-time’ training, which allows Flipsiders to develop and demonstrate their technical skills. In addition to this, every Flipsider receives an industry mentor during the programme.
Before participants are given their brief, they are sent on an action packed induction week with Ada. The current cohort took part in activities which were designed to draw out mind-sets of a digital product designer and interpersonal skills to work as a cohesive learning community. They did this by putting their imaginations to the test by creating towers made from spaghetti and monsters out of playdoh. They also put a on a party to meet their mentors. One participant commented:
“The Flipside programme is teaching me more and more about myself and people. We have learnt so many valuable tools and activities that I believe create the best and strongest minds the digital industry will have.”
The current programme will culminate with a showcase event in April and the offer of a number of paid work placements with Ada’s industry partners.
The Flipside programme is funded by the London Legacy Development Corporation. Its Chief Executive, David Goldstone, said: “East London is a hotbed of talent and we’re delighted to work with these cutting-edge digital agencies to offer young east Londoners this exciting opportunity to develop much-needed skills. There are thousands of jobs in tech, science and media coming to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area in the next few years and we want to make sure that local young people have the skills and experience to take advantage of these fantastic opportunities.”