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Ayrshire Bytes 2019: #LetsDoDataTogether

  • Kilmarnock Campus of Ayrshire College (map)
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Workshop

Free Event

Registration open soon

We are looking to build on the success of our inaugural Ayrshire Bytes digital conference in 2017, to provide another, more interactive, event that equips businesses and our Computing students and staff with knowledge on emerging technologies that are impacting the wider economy. We want to show how we can work together to best take advantage of this knowledge.

Although the target audience is primarily employers, digital experts and computing and business students at the College, we would encourage anyone interested in data and technology to come along. The event theme is collaboration, and so it’s important that we embrace an audience that is as diverse as possible.

We want to establish ourselves as the leading event of its kind in Ayrshire, and would invite members of the public to join our students, local and national employers, and staff members at Ayrshire College to enjoy the event. Our ambition for Ayrshire is to enable its people, businesses and communities to have the skills to take advantage of the potential of digital technologies.

The event will be a tremendous opportunity for our HND students to network with employers and learn more about how data will change businesses. We want them to have real discussions about business. For our staff members, it’s an excellent opportunity for them to make (or enhance existing) links with organisations - with the potential for them to input into future lessons.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would be able to learn practical techniques that they will be able to immediately take back and use in their own organisations, through thought-provoking best practice sharing. There may also be an opportunity for our students to arrange work experience placements further down the line with these organisations, to help put their theory into practice. We’re looking to expand the Ayrshire Bytes event as much as possible.

The Ayrshire Bytes 2019 event will initially take place at the Kilmarnock Campus of Ayrshire College. College students will then be breaking off to site visits at several high-profile technology organisations based in Ayrshire. Organisations likely to be approached over the coming weeks include the likes of Booth Welsh, NATS, UPM, CCL and Maidsafe.

Attendees would then break off to different rooms to take part in two of four workshops, each lasting 45 minutes. Everyone would then re-convene in the Open Space to hear from a number of guest speakers, before the site visits take place (for students only).

The final details of some workshops are still to be confirmed although we have already approached several relevant, well-placed experts to provide workshops on: Cyber Security, Smart Towns, Digital Policing, Predictive Analytics in Tourism, and E-commerce.

We do have one workshop confirmed. Lynn Kelly of Bridge 2 Business will lead a session entitled ‘Launch Pad - Enterprise and Innovation for SME’s’. This has been tailored specifically to SMEs.

Part of the Enterprising Students fund - which we launched in November in partnership with Bridge 2 Business - will be to support Ayrshire College alumni who are ready to develop enterprise skills. This workshop will be a showcase featuring recent graduates who want to start up their own business. They will discuss how they have benefited from our unique Enterprise and Innovation 10 hour course, discussing how they are now using and understanding data, how we have boosted their digital skills, and how we have helped them to build their website.

We would be looking to attract anywhere from 150 to 200 people to this event, which is the maximum capacity of the Open Space area. In 2017 we had 150 people signed up to our inaugural event. This figure allows everyone who attends to have the opportunity to hear from all of the speakers, and attend the workshops that are relevant to them. There would be scope to have a greater number of students involved in the afternoon site visits.

There will be plenty of positive PR generated from this event; before, during and after. Our award-winning blog will feature profiles of each speaker, with podcasts planned throughout the week of the event.

The College utilises data in a number of ways. We are a sector-leading and an award-winning college in predictive analytics. Following the 2017 Ayrshire Bytes event, where members of our Business Intelligence team delivered a presentation on predictive analytics, we won the Public Sector Award at the Herald Scottish Digital Business Awards and earned a Highly Commended Award at the College Development Network Awards.

The College has a student records team that use a lot of databases and programmes to maintain and update student information. We have made major upgrades to our ICT estate - the ICT team invested in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and IGEL thin client technology, allowing students to access their own personalised desktops and applications from any computer at the Kilmarnock Campus.

This solution meant that IT was introduced to areas which didn’t previously have IT, such as motor vehicle workshops and beauty salons, enabling students to work where, when and how they like.

We use data in digital marketing, making decisions on how to promote our courses based on significant Google Analytics data.

We know that by 2020 nearly all job roles will require digital skills. That’s why we recently published a Digital Strategy (2018-2020), which is available to view here: http://www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/media/6694/digital-skills-strategy-desktop-users.pdf, and has five strategic aims.

The Ayrshire Bytes event will hit all of these strategic aims, strengthening our commitment to raise aspirations, inspire achievement and increase opportunities for people in Ayrshire.