Project Partners Gather in Penzance for Cross-Border Meet-up

On the 23rd and 24th of May 2018, PONToon partner organisations gathered in Penzance, the home of project partner Digital Peninsula Network, for the second PONToon cross-border meeting of the year. Here's an account of what we got up to over the two days!

Partners met for the second time this year to update each other on their progress with the project.
Partners met for the second time this year to update each other on their progress with the project.

Steering Committee Meeting – 23rd of May

On the first day, partners met at the beautiful Exchange in central Penzance for a steering committee meeting to update each other on progress they'd made with the project, as well as to hash out some of the problems they had encountered so far.

A significant element of the meeting was lead partner University of Portsmouth's update on the digital toolkit that is being created to help upskill women and aid them in finding meaningful employment.

The presentation, delivered by Project Coordinator Harriet Parr, gave partners an introduction to 13 toolkit components currently in development and included things like:

  • Job Hunting App - an app designed to help participants find out what jobs they might be interested in by viewing job listings and swiping left or right depending on whether it is something they'd be interested in doing.
  • Virtual Art Gallery - a virtual reality space in which participants can upload their artworks and view them as though they were in a gallery setting.
  • Recruitment Map - a virtual map of Portsmouth (other major cities will be added as the project progresses) which highlights significant employment services, training hubs and other employment related locations to help participants in preparing for, and finding, a job.
  • VR Interview - A virtual reality job interview, conducted by a virtual avatar, which will help to familiarize participants with, and prepare them for, the process of being interviewed for a job.

After the steering committee meeting, partners had a few hours of free time before meeting again at the Alverne restaurant to enjoy a three course meal.

The PONToon Steering Committee meeting, organised by Digital Peninsula Network
The PONToon Steering Committee meeting, organised by Digital Peninsula Network and hosted at The Exchange, Penzance

Digi Tech Day – 24th of May

On the second day of the trip the project partners, as well as potential beneficiaries and stakeholder companies from the Cornwall area, met again at The Exchange for Digital Peninsula Network's Digi Tech Day, which featured a lineup of talks from industry experts and demonstrations of new technology.
After an introduction by Digital Peninsula Network's Miranda Adams, PONToon Project Coordinator Harriet Parr and Developer Marc Cook took to the stage to give an overview of the project and some of the tools being developed. Aspex Gallery's PONToon coordinator Vivian Chinasa Ezugha followed on from this with a talk about Aspex's PONToon workshops, how they implemented them and the impact they had on the women that took part.

Check out the images below for an overview of the day's talks and events!

UoP Research Associate Mark Cook introduces ideas being developed for the PONToon toolkit
UoP Research Associate Mark Cook introduces ideas being developed for the PONToon toolkit
University of Falmouth Lecturer Alcwyn Parker talks about benefits of serious games
Falmouth University MA Creative App Development Lecturer Alcwyn Parker delivered an informative talk all about serious games and how they can be used to support people who are unemployed or disadvantaged. [Photo Credit: Digital Peninsula Network]
Software Engineer Justin Knight gave an insight into the future of digital technology
Software Engineer Justin Knight, creator of hotel search map Mapov.com, provided an insight into the future of digital technology along with some bold and interesting predictions on how artificial intelligence and automation will affect (and are already affecting) existing job markets.
Toby the educational robot, courtesy of NCI Technologies
During the break, attendees had the chance to check out the array of digital tech demos on display, including virtual reality games, a 3d printer and an impressive educational robot named Toby, courtesy of NCI Technologies.
Digital Marketer Sarah Pugh gives an overview of digital media marketing
After the break, talks resumed with Digital Marketer Sarah Pugh of Eightwire providing an incredibly useful introduction to digital media marketing.
VR Cornwall's Matt Harding talks about the employment opportunities present by VR
The final talk of the day, delivered by Matt Harding of VR Cornwall, was all about working in a digital world, and took a look at how virtual reality technology can be used to aid people in finding employment opportunities. [Photo Credit: Digital Peninsula Network]

After a brilliant day of digital exhibits and exposition, all that was left was for project partners to give their thanks and say their goodbyes before beginning their journeys back home. A huge thank you to the Digital Peninsula Network for organising such an amazing trip!