Job-seekers show they can bring traditional industries into the digital age

23 Sep 2013

A programme aimed at reskilling workers so they can capture opportunities in the digital age is having an impact on the fortunes of traditional organisations that also need to propel themselves in the digital direction. Ahead of the WebElevate showcase this Wednesday, we got a chance to see some of the apps that job-seekers have built for businesses.

On Wednesday, prospective employers will be given a chance to see some of the high quality apps, games and websites built for industry partners of the Digital Skills Academy.

Graduates include mobile app and game developers, digital project managers, online marketers, web video producers, copywriters, UX designers and front-end developers.

Among the apps on show will be learning apps and games built for Gill & Macmillan, a mobile app for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year alumni, an analytics dashboard for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a children’s literacy app for the Educational Company of Ireland, a digital marketing campaign for IDA Ireland, a recruitment website for Version 1, and a game developed for the cartoon series Pencil Pilots.

We spoke to two graduates of the recent year-long course who hope their work will land them and their teams potential employment.

David Strong, a former restaurant manager, went back to college to study multimedia but when he graduated found he had the academic qualifications but not the experience.

Siobhan Conway, formerly an installation manager, had seen demand for her work decline when the recession hit and decided to augment her business and creative skills with digital skills.

Strong demonstrated an app he built based on the book Harry’s Magic Tables by Stephanie Moraghan. “Her son had trouble learning his tables and she was a Montessori teacher who used pictures and rhymes to help him remember. Her friends got wind of this and urged her to complete the book, which was very successful. Her publishers wanted her to bring this into the digital age and so we produced an app for the iPad that added in layers of activity, audio and a game.”

Five months of production by Strong’s team of nine people following initial R&D has resulted in a Harry’s Magic Tables app that has just been submitted to the Apple App Store for approval.

New adventures in digital


Lost! App adapted from EDCO’s highly successful English Language Programme Big Box Adventures

Conway and her team worked on creating an interactive storybook for The Educational Company of Ireland (Edco). Lost! was adapted from the English Language Programme Big Box Adventures.

“Our app is to complement the book in the home environment,” Conway explained. “The idea is to make homework fun by enabling the kids to perceive homework as fun.”

The app helps children with word recognition, and aims to boost their digital literacy.

“Not only can the book be read to a child but the app highlights each word so they develop word recognition as they go along.”

Lost! was also submitted for approval to the Apple App Store last Friday.
Both Strong and Conway said that crucial to the development of the app was strong mentoring support in the background.

“While the raw material from the books came from the publishers, all the music, software and graphics were created by the teams.”

Strong and Conway added that they are hopeful future employment opportunities beckon after their respective publishers, writers and artists were happy with the work their teams had done and expressed an interest in bringing other apps out in line with their portfolio of books.

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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