MK College students enjoy exciting visit to Microsoft HQ

Posted 8th February 2018

Over 80 apprentices and students from a variety of levels and courses kicked off 2018 with a behind- the-scenes tour of the Microsoft building in Reading on 22nd January.

They spent the day with a variety of Microsoft apprentices, staff and interns, taking part in multiple activities around how technology can impact your career in the future, digital skills such as coding, the importance of social media to recruiters, and getting a sneak peek behind the scenes at the headquarters.

The visit was organised by YouthSpark, a sector of Microsoft that aims to bring computer science and technology to life for every young person, through policy, advocacy and partnerships.

One of the main activities of the day was to have a go at coding a micro:bit, a tiny programmable computer that is designed to make learning and teaching easy and fun. The Microsoft team created a challenge to code a micro:bit to play rock, paper, scissors. To do this the students used a Microsoft Surface Pro and a micro:bit. Nathan Dale, who came on the trip and is a Business Apprentice at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commented: “Programming the micro:bits was shockingly simple to do, and now I absolutely want to buy one to use at home”.

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation is a non-profit organisation enabling children around the world to get creative with technology and gain digital skills in school, in clubs and at home.

The students also took part in an activity called FutureProof, where they had to collaborate in groups to take an everyday object and improve the design using new ideas for technology. They then had to create a presentation to pitch their idea back to the audience, giving the students an authentic experience of how some products come to life.

Microsoft employee Ash, who works in the social team, explained how all potential job applicants’ social media profiles are scanned prior to their CV being discussed. He gave students tips on creating a positive profile to ensure they convey a professional image, exaggerating the importance of maintaining a strong reputation across all social media profiles with a lesson on how to build a strong LinkedIn profile.

One student on the trip commented: “I was shown where a good career path can lead, as well as how important your social media presence is to recruiters. 9/10 times they will check your social media profiles, hence it’s a good idea to keep up appearances”.

They were also treated to a preview of some Microsoft’s latest products, including the innovative Holo Lens, the mixed reality equipment that features ground-breaking technology.

The headquarters was a hit with the students, particularly the Xbox room and the break out area of the offices, where employees can take a break from their work and play with some of the companies best performing gaming equipment.

The students also had a chance to ask questions to the Microsoft staff, interns and apprentices, giving them further insight to life at the company.

MK College would like to thank YouthSpark, Microsoft and all of its staff, apprentices and interns who helped to make the day such a success, and give MK College students and apprentices the opportunity to find out about career opportunities in the future of technology. 

“To have MK College come in for one of our career inspiration events was great. The engagement levels throughout the day were incredible!” commented Jaideep Nagpal, Intern at Microsoft. “For me, the highlight was seeing how interested the students were during the coding activities. As a maths undergraduate, that is a fantastic feeling. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy my role so much as an intern, to have the opportunity to inspire students about a career in technology is incredibly rewarding.”

“We are so pleased that the students of Milton Keynes College enjoyed their day at Microsoft and even more excited that the College is looking to do more with the micro:bits. It’s moments like these that keep us energised and inspired in our commitment to inspire young people to pursue careers in technology. We would like to encourage the students to think big and really engage with technology and #makewhatsnext”, commented Rudo Mutambiranwa, UK Philanthropies Manager at Microsoft.