Getting Ahead of the Job Game: Our Young People’s Summer Bootcamp
Take a moment to think back to your school summer holidays… six weeks of uninterrupted fun where school was the last thing on your mind. Whilst many students take a complete break from anything remotely studious, there are those that seize the opportunity of having free time to further their education and explore future career options, putting themselves ahead of the game.
This summer, Experience Haus ran a number of one-week UX Design Bootcamps, specifically designed for 16-19 year olds who were interested in exploring the field of design. Some students had just finished their GCSEs and were moving into Sixth Form, whilst others had recently received their A-Level results and were on the cusp of throwing themselves into university life. Some students had entered a competition to win a place on our bootcamp, followed by a week’s work experience within the UX design team at luxury design consultancy, Matter of Form. We were also lucky enough to have a couple of students sponsored by Digital Skills Consulting who had recently finished their programme and could now put their newly learned skills into practice.
A Collaboration Giving Students Real-World Experience
Digital Skills Consulting and Experience Haus have worked together on a number different projects through the years that focus on helping young people, especially those who don’t have the same kind that others have, to get not only the right skills, but the experience of real life that goes with those skills. When these students are brought to the teams at Digital Skills Consulting, many of them have been through the standard school system but don’t fit into the ‘cookie cutter’ student profile.On some occasions, their schools may have called them stupid or failures, but Digital Skills Consulting know they have skills but need to be put in an environment to bring these skills out. This particular project that Experience Haus have been involved in for the past 7 years is all about helping 16/17 year olds develop the right skills to be successful in a career. Digital Skills Consulting work with these young people for 12 weeks, developing their skills, and then they come on bootcamps offered at Experience Haus to start putting those skills into practice and increasing their knowledge. This means they can go out in the future and succeed in careers they never have thought of when they first started!
Mastering the Design Process in Just Five Days
Whilst on the course, the students learned the entire end-to-end design process for designing digital products. From research tactics, design thinking, client management, user experience and user interface design, students were equipped with all the knowledge needed for designing digital products in the future. Similarly to our longer courses, all of this knowledge was immediately put into practice and the students were given a live client project to work on, tackling a design challenge for a real-life client.
The client? Budgie, is a virtual finance manager designed to help people on their money journey, not just by providing them the right tools, but offering a structured, more personalised approach. Their problem, however, has been trying to settle on the user experience, which is essentially their unique selling point. This user experience starts when you first sign up to the app, going through the stages of sorting your finances, setting your goals, and ultimately forming your own personal financial roadmap. Budgie has also realised there is a serious gap in financial literacy, not only for young people, but even older adults! During these bootcamps, the students explored what a finance app could look like that would appeal firstly to 16-19 year olds in offering financial education and rewards for achieving their goals.
In the space of just five days, our students had a call with the stakeholder to understand more about what he was looking for, conducted interviews with people around the agency, created personas and came up with working prototypes in Figma for a finance app that would appeal to younger and older audiences, and offer the financial literacy many people find is lacking. Whilst students on our part-time courses have 10-12 weeks to learn all of this, these students only had a few days to produce these designs. It was amazing to see how quickly they picked it up and the high level of creativity they all brought to the project.
The Bootcamp From a Student’s Perspective
Suhali did the bootcamp at Experience Haus followed by a week’s work experience at Matter of Form, doing some ideation, customer journey mapping and building low and high fidelity wireframes. She had recently finished her GCSE’s (actually receiving her results during the bootcamp!) and was interested in doing the course as she has a keen interest in fine arts and other creative subjects like music, photography, art and so on. We had a quick chat with her to understand a bit more about her experience on the bootcamp and thoughts for her future career.
Can you give us a bit of a summary of your experience on our summer bootcamp?
I found it quite interesting. It was nice to have a real client to be dealing with so it felt a bit more important, but it was also nice to have a team to be working with and someone to guide us through everything. I didn’t have any background knowledge before this but I didn’t find it an issue which was good!
Everyone was very friendly and it was nice to see what this sort of environment was like. I really enjoyed it!
Did the course help you think about what you want to do in the future, or help you learn any new skills that you could take into your future career?
I have creative hobbies and interests and I wanted to see if that could be carried forward into a career. So UX/UI seemed like an obvious first step to explore, especially looking at popular careers now with technology and what not. It was definitely helpful to figure out what this industry is like. As I mentioned, It was also useful working as a team and working on team building skills. These are always going to be important, no matter where you go. Learning the software like Figma was really interesting.
What did you enjoy most about the course; did you have a favourite part?
I do think I enjoyed the Figma stuff most – being able to put your ideas onto paper first, and then putting them on a screen and seeing it all come together.
What advice would you give someone who might be thinking about doing a summer bootcamp?
Give it a go! The worst that’s going to happen is realising it’s not for you and either way that’s going to help you moving forward if you have a clear idea of what you do and don’t like. Then if you do end up enjoying it, you have a bit of a head start into getting into the field you want to. It’s always nice to have as much experience and support as you can, and altogether it’s a great experience to do. I’ve really enjoyed the last two weeks and definitely found it helpful!
Thanks to the generosity of companies like Matter of Form and Digital Skills Consulting, we are able to offer students from all backgrounds the opportunity to learn skills they might never have thought of, and give them the chance to see what life is like in a working agency in London.
We look forward to running even more bootcamps for young people next summer. Get in touch if you would like to find out more.