Hello, my name is Ben Turner and I am the West Midlands 5G’s (WM5G) Engagement Manager. I led the 5G in 5 Days project, enabling young people to work with industry experts, gain invaluable experience, increase their skills and knowledge, and raise their profile in the region.
5G in 5 Days came about over our team Christmas meal and a discussion we were having on engagement. I realised that we were missing a key target as young people are the largest demographic in the West Midlands! I was told to go away and design a programme and so that’s exactly what I did.
We recently provided an opportunity for six young people aged 18-24 to discover how 5G technology works, the benefits it brings and explore the real world improvements it can make to our lives. This was open to anybody within the West Midlands region (regardless of background or ability) and we put a call out to schools, universities and delivery partners.
It was important that participants could see 5G in action and we secured exclusive access to WM5G’s new 5PRING innovation centres, which are kitted out with their own private 5G networks. They also took a trip to see the region’s first 5G connected tram and were even given a 5G phone to utilise over the duration of the project. The young people were very impressed with the speeds, especially while streaming…
But talks proved to be invaluable, too. They heard from multi-award-winning entrepreneur Kari Lawler, who started her own AI business and provided lots of inspiration. Insightful topics from other technological leaders included how 5G increases network security and the challenges and opportunities in the deployment of 5G across the West Midlands. Attendees then used this information to help create a social media series to educate the wider community on 5G technology.
The team was very diverse, and we made sure we were cognisant of the individuals’ own interests. For instance, there was a 24-year-old mother who had no prior knowledge of 5G but wanted to understand how the technology will improve her daughter’s life. Another attendee was a health fanatic and was keen to learn about 5G-facilitated lifestyle changes.
We did, of course, have some super techy people in the group, such as a science graduate from Birmingham. One member has since started a VR community project, and another has convinced their sceptical family that 5G is going to have a positive impact on society.
Through this inaugural programme, we’ve secured some absolutely brilliant results and hope to roll the initiative out across the UK.
If you would like to hear more about this exciting project please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. What do you enjoy most about working on the project?
Giving back to the community through the knowledge and technological awareness that I’ve gained. I also used to work with young people in a voluntary capacity and so, being able to incorporate this into my job now was amazing.
2. What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve done in the name of 5G?
On the first day, with no one knowing one another the group was quite quiet. We decided the only thing for it was to take everyone to the pub and have an open discussion on the barriers to adoption for 5G! Putting people in an environment they are more comfortable with really worked a charm and even now, the team keeps in touch. They all have a group chat on WhatsApp sharing new experiences and updates on technology and innovation within the West Midlands!
3. What excites you most about the project?
Having the spotlight on the West Midlands. There’s so much knowledge and innovation coming out of our region and it’s really exciting. We are leading the way for the rest of the UK and the world in 5G & Digital services
4. What would you like people to know about the project?
That we’re keen to have conversations about how to grow this further. We are already in talks with local authorities in Scotland and Wales.
5. What’s the biggest benefit you think 5G will bring to the UK?
Connectivity, whether this is improving services from our hospitals and remote care, improving true productivity within our Manufacturing sector, or connecting our key transport networks with 5G to increase passenger safety and satisfaction. Everyone will eventually be seeing and using 5G within their day to day lives.