David Barker, founder and Chief Technology Officer of 4D Data Centres

4D Data Centres joins scheme to connect school students with working network engineers

 4D Data Centres, has embarked on a gold sponsorship with I’m an Engineer, a student-led online engagement activity which connects school students with working network engineers from across the UK.

An online STEM enrichment activity, the event has two objectives, to demonstrate to children that engineers and scientists are people they can relate to, (80% of children like science but only 20% think of a career in science, often because of the way that scientists are portrayed in media) and to explain that data centres exist and discuss the wealth of career opportunities they offer.

Throughout November, engineers from different companies, in industries anywhere from construction to design, will be on hand to answer students’ questions about working in engineering through an online text-based programme. With November focusing on web and data engineering, data centre professionals have been encouraged to take part to showcase career options in their field. This will help both those who want to enter the sector, and those who haven’t considered it, to be well informed about their options after education.

When it comes to data centres, a key part of meeting demands in the long term is acknowledging the importance of improving diversity and attracting new talent to the workplace. There is often a lack of understanding about what the data centre sector is and the career opportunities it offers, which is why it needs initiatives like I’m an Engineer to be made more accessible and for those in the industry to do their part as role models.

With Britain’s tech sector now at the heart of the government’s plan to transform the economy, it’s hard to believe that the industry — where salaries are about double the national average — is so badly impacted by skill shortages.

“Shortages in our industry will take at least 10 years to address if we do it by ourselves,” commented David Barker, founder and Chief Technology Officer of 4D Data Centres. “We are struggling to find network engineers and others with knowledge of high-voltage electronics. If it continues like this we could struggle to maintain services. It’s unsustainable.

“That’s why schemes like this are so important to both the present and future of the industry. We need to get the sector to a good place and get the attention of upcoming talent, educating them on the opportunities the data centre industry offers and encouraging them to come on board. If the options aren’t made clear and early enough, roles are only going to get harder to fill.”

Helping school students to learn more about engineering is inspiring the next generation and providing realistic role models in the form of existing engineers. Those taking part in the initiative are able to improve their communication skills and gain experience of public engagement. I’m an Engineer is open to all engineering-related professionals in the internet infrastructure sector in industry, academia or public sector roles.

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