The job market of the future is changing fast. Here’s what we got up to over the weekend to help the next generation get ready for it.

Put together by SmartSTEMs in partnership with Nine Twenty, Saturday’s all-day Insp-Hire event at GCU was for kids aged 4 to 14 and aimed at inspiring them (hence the name) to think about career options (hence the second bit of the name) in the digital and technology sectors. Another big piece was getting parents and kids to think more about “Industry 4.0”, in other words – what it is, how it’s going to affect the job market of the future, and how STEM education can help get them ready for it.

When asked to dive into the pool of 40 other businesses taking part from across the UK, and being big on inspiring creativity and all, we answered in a way you might expect — “CANNONBALLLLLLLL!” Then, having been dazzled last week by our friends at Proto-PIC and all their techy gadgets, we couldn’t help but ask them to come along as well!

The exhibition

Now we’ve all been to business exhibitions before (pick a business card, any business card, etc). But this one was more than just a bunch of stalls stacked with brochures and a corporate banner to the side. This one had robot football, engineering with Lego, and even animal rescue training with bunnies, “Smudge” and “Fudge”! From us and Proto-PIC pals, there were “Amigos Without Egos” glowing skull soldering kits, a robotic claw game, a Makey Makey banana keyboard, and even a “Be Your Weird Self” Buzz Lightyear character that wiggled his wings when you waved at him! But that wasn’t all.

The Be Your Weird Self workshop

Our Andrew Dobbie put on a series of workshops talking these wee ones through the ins and outs of design. As in, what is design, exactly? “It’s where you make fun things” was one answer. Another was “it’s where you draw things like…BOOM!” Well said, kiddos. We also talked through some of the cool things design can help you do, like make a bus in a box or transform yourself into a big friendly giant. Mixed in with plenty of interactive bits through the presentation—and admittedly a bit of toilet humour if we’re honest—these little guys and girls got to piece together and colour in their very own “Be Your Weird Self” characters! They also told us about each of their own weird superpowers (like “eating a lot of cheese”) and what they want to be when they grow up (like being a “horse rider lady”).

Fun and games aside, the event brought in over a thousand kids and parents. And since inspiring creativity has always been a core part of everything we do here at Casa MadeBrave, getting a chance to do the same for kids and their parents was a real treat. Plus the thought of having inspired some of these wee ones to be tomorrow’s next designer, marketer, creative technologist, or business owner is something that makes us feel like a Marvel character atop a skyscraper with our capes flapping in the wind. In other words, it feels good.

“We’re all being told on repeat ‘technology is changing everything rapidly’. There are many job roles coming 20 years down the line that, if we’re honest, we just can’t predict. What we can do as business owners is be mindful of this gap and partner with those in education to help increase awareness, and spark curiosity and creativity for the next generation, whether they’re university students or just coming out of creche.” — Andrew Dobbie, our Founder