As Brightbox launch their inaugural Maker-in-Residence programme with the Barnsley Libraries Summer Making Challenge, they’re looking for industry sponsors to help them roll it out even wider and support long term change for communities underrepresented in tech. Founder and CEO Kisha Bradley shares more about the scheme, the Brightbox vision, and how sponsors can get involved.
The Maker-in-Residence scheme
Since starting five years ago, Brightbox have been on a mission to raise awareness of the range of digital, engineering and creative careers available to people from communities underrepresented in these industries, and get them involved in making and creating.
This year they launch their first Maker-in-Residence scheme, pairing a group of young people with 50 experts from diverse backgrounds who are already working in digital and creative industries.
“We know that learning from people who look and sound like us breaks down barriers and can have a huge impact on the careers young people choose. We’ve created this training programme for local people to explore new skills and hopefully kickstart their careers in digital, engineering and creative sectors.”
Over 320 dedicated hours these young people will have a chance to explore their own tech creativity and learn new skills. The programme will culminate in the Barnsley Libraries Summer Making Festival in June, where the young trainees can show off their new skills and share their findings – and inventions – with their own community.
In addition to the Maker-in-Residence scheme, Brightbox is also busy preparing 3000 Making at Home kits so that young people who receive free school meals can continue making and creating over the holidays. They also host careers days where young people can talk to a diverse panel of experts in creative and digital careers.
Brightbox is looking for sponsors to help them deliver this programme to the fullest extent and continue providing opportunities in underrepresented communities across South Yorkshire into the future. They’ve put together a sponsorship pack which details the different levels of support, how you can get involved and what the money will enable them to provide.
Partnerships with the right businesses, who care about investing in diversity in the sector, can help them achieve their goal of lasting change at a community level, getting local people excited about opportunities available to them and helping bring new fresh faces into the industry.
“Your support can help us host an additional careers day for up to 60 students, giving young people at school a real sense of the possibilities available to them in the digital and tech industries. And if we reach our goal, we can include some tech in the making-at-home packs – even something like a Raspberry Pi, which might be the first time young people have had a chance to work with something like this.”
Sponsorship can be hugely beneficial to businesses in building brand awareness and helping to reach new audiences. RS components, one of the very first Brightbox sponsors, clocked up 162K views on their Girls With Drills video on Facebook. The classroom workshop run by Kisha remains the highest performing and most reacted-to video on the company’s socials.
There are a number of different levels of sponsorship available, with a range of benefits, including:
- Featured write-ups on the Brightbox website
- Social media marketing
- Branding at the Summer Making festival
- Branded material in the making-at-home kits
- Brightbox organised career days for schools outreach and engagement
- Branded activity days
Brightbox would like to hear from all types of businesses with an interest in supporting development and learning in the tech and digital industries. Kisha says, however, that gaming is a particular point of interest.
“We’re especially keen to focus on digital organisations that work in the gaming industry – if this is you, we’d really love to hear from you! We get a lot of interest from young people about how to incorporate coding into gaming. We want to change the picture of who they think make video games, and what sort of jobs are available.”
If you’re interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, the work Brightbox does – or you have an old games console to donate! – please drop Kisha an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.