TLPD Industry Insight placement: Justin Higgins

Justin Higgins is Curriculum Leader for IT and Computing at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form. As part of the preparations for delivering the Digital T Level from September 2020, Justin completed Industry Insight placements at Earthware and Comm-Tech. The placements are part of the T Level Professional Development support offer to provide opportunities for professional updating for teachers, that is industry relevant and that facilitates knowledge transfer and professional exchange.

What were your key objectives for going on a staff placement in industry?
I do not have an industry background and in order to successfully deliver the Digital Production, Design and Development T Level, I wanted experience of the sector. As students will have a significant amount of work experience as part of the course, I wanted to understand what they will encounter and gain an insight into the current methodologies used in the tech sector for managing projects (for example – Scrum and Agile). I also wanted to broaden my knowledge beyond the curriculum.

Tell us about your experience and the highlights from the placements
I was able to gain a good understanding of project management methodologies, which have not appeared in the current IT and Computer Science A Level specifications. It was also interesting to observe how members of a team communicated with each other and with clients using several different communication methods.

What did you value the most about engaging with Earthware and Comm-Teach?
It was amazing to see how the tech industry really works, which gave me valuable insights for when students will undertake their industry placements. Also, the time that staff were prepared to give up explaining things to me was very generous.

What has been the impact on you, your colleagues and organisations?
I have already been able to share the project management strategies with colleagues. We have also practised using agile methodologies with A Level Computer Science students.

How will this positively impact on future T Level learners?
I will be able to share knowledge about the IT industry with students, using a real-world examples so learning is put into context. In the long term I would like to run student projects using agile methodologies.