My first ever vlog and hopefully more to come. This vlog documents my first day at the Google Innovator Academy in Sweden. Part 2 coming soon!

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I’ve been busy getting things done, travelling for work and working on my master plan. But, if I’m honest a friend from college has motivated me to start blogging again (Tolu-make sure you check out her blog). I fell off but want to get back on!

I’m currently sat on a plane to Sweden where I’ll attend the Google Innovator Academy. I finally plucked up the courage to apply after mulling over it for a few months. I was recommended by someone last year to apply for the New York cohort but didn’t feel ready and the cost would be too much. Then this year there was a London cohort (right on my doorstep) but yet I still didn’t feel it was the right time and was worried three days out of work would be an issue. I let every excuse keep me from applying and left myself in limbo.

After some deep reflection, I knew the honest reason I hadn’t applied is that I didn’t want to fail and thought that somehow I wasn’t good enough to be a part of it. So even when everyone in my Personal Learning Network encouraged me to I didn’t. Imposter syndrome can be so debilitating.

I was also worried about how my body would hold up for three intense days. Would it let me down again, as it has on so many occasions?  It’s hard to do things when you don’t trust your body but I guess it’s not impossible.

I regretted not applying for the London cohort, while it was on I felt irritated I was missing out. I should have been there learning new things and growing. I felt a bit daft that I’d not committed to my promise several years ago to live without regrets.

Enough was enough and I finally decided to apply to the Sweden Innovator Academy. The application itself was quite a lengthy one. You have to identify a challenge that you would like to solve in education, interview a few students or teachers affected by the challenge, film a 60-second video about that challenge and why you want to solve it. After a stern talking to myself I completed it on time and a few weeks later learnt I was accepted.

As I am passionate about giving back to others and improving social mobility, I decided on the following: How might we ensure mentoring of disengaged students is consistent and effective? Keep posted to find out how I solve this challenge.

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Back in July, Just A Guy partnered with Google Applied Digital Skills and AppsEvents in association with iDEA (The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award) to launch Step Up With Digital Skills, a day of workshops attended by 41 students aged 16-18 years old, focusing on teaching  digital, entrepreneurial and communication skills at Google Academy London. 

The day kicked off with a keynote from myself, the keynote focused on why resilience is important and why digital skills are important in this day and age. 

Three different sessions were run on rotation, Students learned how to use App Script (programming language), communication skills, and design thinking session, this session focused on problem-solving, another important skill.

Step Up With Digital Skills was the first-ever Applied Digital Skills session to be accredited with an iDEA Digital Badge for all participants, recognising their work on the day. The event was also supported by The Duke of York himself, who Tweeted about the session. Students were selected via applications to attend the free event, which aimed to give access to pivotal digital skills needed for success in education and beyond in the digital age. 

Guest speakers on the day included a panel of entrepreneurs who spoke about how they apply digital skills to their various businesses, including special guest speaker, Bright Ideas Founder, Tim Campbell MBE.

Step Up With Digital Skills was mainly self-funded by Just A Guy, and in addition to Digital Badges awarded to the students, gifts were also provided by Google, Manchester United football player Marcus Rashford, Merky Books, Penguin Books, Black Butter Records and Island Records.

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