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TechCityInsider interviews Mike Berry Transcript

Mike Berry here from Vitamin T. I'm the UK country manager for the company which supplies creative and marketing skills to a whole range of businesses.

Thanks for joining us, Mike. In your eyes, how do you think technology can be applied to improve education?

We start to look at the biggest challenges facing education in the UK at the moment. And one of the major areas we need to improve on is the connection between businesses and companies who want to employ graduates and students, and the education system and the quality of people it puts out into the marketplace. So if you start to look at what is needed to close the gap between what a business needs and what education is delivering, you have to look at what students need, what businesses need, what the education system needs, and what the overall community needs to make everything work more effectively.

So we began looking at what a student would need to make their life better, to make themselves more employable, to give them better job prospects, and to improve their earnings potential. So it is important to close the gap by giving them access to information about what education or what courses, what subjects are most likely to get them access to the work they need.

From a business point of view, we need to make sure they have access to information that says what is available coming out of the education system, what is realistic about the education system. Provide them with a feedback loop to tell the education system what they need peoples or students to be trained in or taught. And using technology to improve access to that level of information for both those parties, ie business and students, is vitally important.

If you then look at what the education system needs to know, and where technology can help them, it is again providing real time information about what companies want, what people they want to employ, what skill sets they need to have, allowing them to influence the teaching and the teachers who are actually delivering those people to market. Technology can make that a lot more transparent, it can give a lot more people access to a lot more information. It can help engage communities, families, friends, guides to students, by allowing them to discuss what opportunities and options are available.

So technology makes that a lot more achievable. More online access to information, more online access to feedback from all parties and all stakeholders means that we actually get there a lot more quickly. There are consequences of putting technology available, or information available in technology, and that is that certain behaviors need to change. And that goes up through government into the education establishment and businesses.

And unfortunately technology can't always address those things. But it will raise questions about quarter teaching, the speed of change in the education system, the focus put by the government on the education system, and how businesses are reacting to this improved level of information flow. So these are things that also need to be addressed and necessary. We can put the technology in place, but we need the people to actually listen to it and act on it.

That's going to be one of the problems, isn't it? That to put the theory into practice, I mean, the teacher community is one that traditionally doesn't like to be measured and is not very up on the target cultural eye, but do you feel there will be a bit of an outcry if it was implemented?

The range of educational roots that are now available to people is not all driven by government. And there's a lot of private approaches to education. If the market, ie the system, the employers, and private education or non-government directed education is able to demonstrate that these things work, these things have a better success rate, these things lead to better employment, then the market will have to change. You're right, people will be resistant to change and resistant to being measured. But if you look at what education is for, education is to actually get people ready to go out into the world and contribute to the world, not to pander to a teacher or lecturers. [INAUDIBLE] the way the world should be. And if they react to what they're being told in real time, then they should embrace it and we should embrace it.

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