EPAM, ITV & Liberty Global reward students’ digital approach to fighting food poverty.
London, UK, 27 January 2021 – BIMA, the UK’s largest Digital and Tech community, today announced the Leventhorpe School, Hertfordshire and St Marylebone CE School as the joint winners of its 2020 Digital Day Industry Challenge, an initiative that brings digital careers to life for 11-16-year olds and the only one of its kind in the UK.
“BIMA’s Digital Day is a truly great program. It connects students with the digital industry to help inspire and inform their personal future career choices,” said Rob Verheul, Digital Day Ambassador and Managing Director of Graphite Digital. “This year’s Digital Day was more ‘digital’ than ever, as the students collaborated on a real-world problem that they all cared about.”
The winning schools developed innovative digital solutions in response to a challenge set by lead sponsor EPAM Systems, Inc.—a leading global provider of digital platform engineering and development services—to tackle food poverty as part of BIMA’s annual nationwide Digital Day event.
“We’re delighted to be able to partner with our clients Liberty Global and ITV on such an important topic. EPAM is dedicated to inspiring young people to choose a digital career path and actively invest in the education of future professionals as well as provide support to those who are just starting their careers,” said Shamilka Samarasinha, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at EPAM. “We were incredibly impressed by the ingenuity of the winning entries—demonstrating that the future of digital is in safe hands with ideas that could genuinely make a real-world difference.”
Food poverty was already on the rise in the UK prior to COVID-19, with 1.9 million food bank parcels given to people between April 2019 – March 2020. Over the past year, the number of families requiring help increased exponentially. An issue that footballer Marcus Rashford has helped place front and centre of the National Debate, and a topic close to EPAM’s heart, made it the focus of this year’s challenge.
The first winning solution was submitted by the Leventhorpe School in Hertfordshire. It was elegantly simple—add a ‘donate’ button next to the ‘add to cart’ on supermarkets’ web pages, making it easy for online shoppers to buy and donate simultaneously. “So simple, we couldn’t believe it didn’t exist already,” was the judges’ response.
The second winning entry came from the St Marylebone CE School in London. It too was as simple as it was impactful. The students suggested a ‘Buy Me to Help Another’ sticker be placed on supermarket products, alongside a social media campaign to drive shoppers to buy duplicates to send to food banks.
Digital Day’s primary goal is to offer 11-16-year-olds an insight into the world of digital and help them discover the potential of a career as a digital practitioner. This year, thousands of students, in more than 140 schools nationwide, competed to create digital solutions to help resolve the challenge of food poverty. The winners receive money for their school and book tokens donated by EPAM, ITV and BIMA.
“We are committed to encouraging young people to take an active role in their communities by inspiring them to use their digital skills to create tech-based solutions to solve real problems in society. On behalf of the Digital Day winners, we are pleased to be donating £1,000 to the Trussell Trust, to help put an end to food scarcity,” stated Liz Brodsky, Sustainability Manager for Liberty Global.
ITV & Liberty Global (owner of local UK operator Virgin Media) have also donated cash to support the Trussell Trust, a charity that is working to end the need for food banks in the UK. Additionally, EPAM is running an ongoing fund matching campaign for the Trussell Trust.
Ian Cottrell, Director of Channel and Content Operations at ITV, said “As we all move forward embracing a digital first future, it was hugely encouraging to see the strength of creativity that came through in all of the submissions, demonstrating that our future generations are ready to lead the way in digital innovation. ITV are delighted to have been part of such an important project, which not only heightens awareness of what is a very real and prevalent food poverty crisis, but also inspires our future generations to pursue a career in digital.”