All aboard the Silicon Milkroundabout!
We were already incredibly excited to be doing the PR for the UK’s biggest technology job fair, held over the 18th and 19th November in London, but even more so this year as they introduced, for the very first time, a new event called NEXT GEN, specifically targeted at helping graduates get started with a career in tech.
This felt particularly pertinent as we near the end of 2022 knowing that the graduate labour market, post-Covid, has seen the biggest drop in jobs since the 1980’s. And a recent report by the Institute of Student Employers revealed that this is still showing signs of a downturn.
Silicon Milkroundabout CEO, Liam Reynolds, is passionate about doing something to help. ‘Companies have a moral obligation to help the next generation get into work,’ he told us. ‘It’s extremely tough out there for grads and those just starting out. As well as facing increasing cost of living and record levels of student debt, there’s also a noticeable and worrying lack of entry level roles available to them. They’ve come through on the promise that a career in tech is the path to a bright future. However they’ve been sadly let down as the entry level roles have simply failed to materialise. So our NEXT GEN event has been created to tackle this and start shining a light on this issue.”
Silicon Milkroundabout, the UK’s largest and best loved tech jobs fair, has already been running for 11 years and has introduced over 100,000 attendees to companies including Google, Amazon, and TikTok. And if the queue of hundreds waiting around the block to gain entry this year was anything to go by, opening it up to the grad market has been a successful move.
Once inside, the atmosphere at this vast event was buzzing. Companies including Lego, the BBC, Ocado and Octopus Energy had stands as well as hundreds of up-and-coming tech startups and scaleups. I managed to grab several attendees to get their feedback.
One graduate, Pritti, has been struggling to find work: ‘I went to UCL and studied machine learning – and I’m currently looking for a role in software engineering. Definitely as a graduate and as an international student finding a job is such a task. And when I got to know about Silicone Milkroundabout I knew I had to be here. There is such a huge company roster and so many different industries. Everyone has been really helpful, especially meeting team members face to face.
Another graduate, Sadie, admitted she has recently been laid off by a tech firm. ‘That’s why I’m here,’ she said. ‘Fingers crossed I’m going to find another job soon. The great thing about this event is that normally there is just recruiters, but this time I got to speak to real CEO’s – so that’s a huge plus.’
The noise level was deafening, the bar was packed, and there was even a DJ. I couldn’t help wondering why job fairs weren’t more like this when I was a graduate. It felt like THIS was the place to be – where talent and opportunity collide to make career aspirations actually happen. Oh, and the free pizza was a nice touch too..