Reflect Digital is delighted to have hosted the fifth annual digital skills conference, Aspiration Digital 2024, on 5th January 2024 at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Each year, the digital skills conference aims to inspire and educate the next generation of digital leaders, covering topics from development and creative design to AI, marketing activation (SEO, Paid Media, Customer Experience, Social Media) and how to run a business. Aspiration Digital 2024 marked the biggest event to date, with an incredible:

  • 400 Sixth Form students
  • 14 speakers and moderators
  • 11 panellists
  • 17 sponsors (including Canterbury Christ Church University, Digital Kent, Apprentify, BIMA, Digital Women and Giraffe CVs)
  • 1 whole day of inspiring, learning and skills-developing

The day was split into three elements: Exciting talks about everything from personal branding to AI, a Routes into Digital panel which involved a healthy discussion about choosing University or an Apprenticeship, and a sponsor exhibition. The exhibition allowed students to network with potential employers, get CV advice, learn about university courses and connect with students from other sixth-form colleges.

Becky Simms, CEO at Reflect Digital, said: “Our 5th and biggest Aspiration Digital event was a huge success. 

“Having moved to Canterbury Christ Church University to allow us to increase capacity, it meant we were able to up the game in a number of ways. 

“We had a wider selection of speakers, who are industry experts there to share their experiences and insights with the students. We had a larger exhibition than before offering the students a wider array of businesses to network with.

“The event was everything I had hoped it would be and more.

“I visibly noticed how students arrived apprehensive and left completely captivated by everything they had learnt. There was a buzz and an energy from everyone.

“I heard many of the staff, speakers and sponsors all saying they wish they could’ve attended an event like Aspiration Digital when they were at school.

“That is exactly why we do the event. It is all about providing something that I believe is otherwise missing and I feel it is our duty to do, if we as an industry want to have young people aspiring to work in roles, they need to know they exist!”
Let’s take a look at some of the key takeaways of Aspiration Digital 2024…


Passion is Power

We want to shout about this first takeaway from the rooftops! B-Digital’s Rejoice Ojiaku gave an inspiring, brilliantly motivational talk about the importance of being passionate in your career and the benefits it can bring you.

Rejoice told students that, no matter who they are, what they do or what career they choose, passionate individuals shine brighter. She also explained that it is crucial to look for achievement beyond success and highlighted the importance of finding joy in the journey.

Being passionate about a specific topic can also help within the digital world specifically as you can leverage knowledge about your niche to create in-depth, well-informed articles, campaigns or other work for clients.



Rejoice’s top tips for identifying your passions. Look at:

  • Gut feeling
  • Past experiences
  • Feedback from others
  • Personal reflection
  • Consistent themes that come up in your life

Everyone left Rejoice’s talk feeling empowered, including students, teachers, and us! 


The future is AI…but this shouldn’t be scary!

It wouldn’t be a digital skills conference without talking about the two words on everyone’s lips right now: Artificial Intelligence.

Whether you’re a student learning about a career in digital, or someone already working in the industry, AI can seem both daunting and exciting at the same time. However, as Tom Downing of BIMA pointed out in his brilliant talk, with 1 in 6 UK organisations already embracing at least one AI technology, it’s time to get on board with the future of digital.



Tom took time to explain the differences between generative and predictive AI to students and educated everyone on how AI has the ability to create surprise moments because the behaviours and knowledge aren’t taught. He believes that AI is a superpower and thinks students (and everyone else for that matter) should lean into it when thinking about their careers. After all, Netflix took 3.5 years to reach 1 million users, while Chat GPT only took 5 days.

What did our students think?

Jessica, a student at Dover Girls Grammar School said: “I really liked how Tom talked about the difference between two different types of AI and how they can create something out of nothing. I think that’s really cool.”

Mrs A Jebagnanam, Head of Computing at Maidstone Grammar School for Girls said: “[students] really liked [...] the artificial intelligence topic [...] and because we had such a wide number of Computer Science girls over here today at this event, I think they’ve really enjoyed it because, for them, it’s like ‘what am I doing next?’ [...] There are so many opportunities in AI.”


The world we live in is personal brand-based

Inspiring students to want to take their first steps into a digital career is only part of our mission at Aspiration Digital. The other part is providing actionable tips, support and advice on how they can achieve this. Our next two key takeaways focus on things students can be doing right now to impress future employers and kickstart their digital careers.

Alongside being one of our fabulous moderators, Joanna Watts gave a brilliant talk about the importance of personal branding. Everybody has a personal brand, and Joanna believes that, if you don’t do anything about it, then nothing happens.



Joanna’s tips for creating a personal brand included:

  • Create a personal Instagram and a business Instagram so that if an employer takes a look at your social media, they’re going to see a professional, curated profile that doesn’t include what you did with your friends last week.
  • Be present, not perfect - You don’t need to hold off on posting content until it’s perfect, being consistent is just as important.
  • Create your own elevator pitch. This is a single sentence that sums up who you are and what you do. It is the best way of demonstrating that you understand who you are, and who your personal brand is.


Network, network network

Another insight that came out of several talks at Aspiration Digital 2024 was the power of networking and building connections within the industry.

Sophie Clarke, one of our fantastic speakers, talked about how she attended the very first Aspiration Digital in 2018, connected with Becky, and is now a Senior Growth Executive at Reflect Digital. The main purpose of her talk was to highlight how important it is for students to take ownership of their career journey.



One of the ways Sophie talked about was LinkedIn. Joanna Watts echoed this in her talk about personal branding, telling students that creating a LinkedIn page shows businesses and universities that you’re focused and dedicated.

Off the back of Sophie’s talk, many students felt excited and motivated to create their own LinkedIn profile and start building connections, including Abigail, Era and Janice from Maidstone Grammar School for Girls, who all said that the first thing they’ll be doing after Aspiration Digital is downloading LinkedIn and building their own profiles.

Era said: “I didn’t really know about LinkedIn before and now I know that’s where [employers] look at job applicants. It’s something you want to be involved in if you want to find a job easier.”


Digital is limitless

One of our biggest takeaways from Aspiration Digital 2024 underpinned many of the talks, and was one of the key motivations for the panel: There is no one way to get into the industry and once you’re in, the opportunities are endless.

Nearly every speaker talked about their own unique experiences of carving a career in digital, and we dedicated a series of four panels to discussing the differences between choosing a University degree or an Apprenticeship.

The purpose of Aspiration Digital is to make digital careers more accessible to students, and that includes highlighting entry points, whether that be a University degree, Apprenticeship, internship or work experience.

Janice, 15, a student from Maidstone Grammar School for Girls said: “[My key takeaway is] that you don’t need a certain degree to go into marketing. I still take quite a few subjects but I don’t know what route to go down, but if none of them work out for me, I can still go into marketing because I still have a passion that I’m interested in rather than me going down different routes that I wouldn’t enjoy in the future.”

One particular speaker who embodied the idea that digital is limitless is Claire Hutchings, Founder of Chime Agency. 





Claire’s inspirational talk lifted the lid on digital agencies and explored the breadth of roles available. Breaking them down into categories, she explained to students that they could find roles in areas such as:

  • Technical
  • Account Management
  • Strategy
  • Project Management
  • Creativity
  • Operational

Whether you’re an ideas person, someone who loves numbers, very organised, loves writing, is fiercely independent or all of the above, there’s a career in digital with your name on it!


What’s Next?

So that’s a wrap on Aspiration Digital 2024, but it’s far from over. With so many brilliant talks, insights, discussions and tips from speakers across the digital sphere, the conference has given students a lot to think about as they prepare for their A-Levels and beyond.

Era, 15, a student at Maidstone Grammar School for Girls (MGGS) said: “I thought [Aspiration Digital] was a really good experience and [...] I feel like it’s taught me a lot of information that I couldn’t have learned online unless I searched deeply for it. It gave a lot of different opinions on everyone else’s different experiences [...] so I found it really helpful.”

While MGGS student Abigail, 16, added: “I’ve taken away that I do like marketing and I have [...] a real passion for it. [Now] I just need to find out which area of marketing I want to go into.”

Megan Mawson, Head of School and College Recruitment at Canterbury Christ Church University said: “Aspiration Digital was a fantastic event exposing young people to the variety of roles and opportunities in Digital and the various pathways to reach their potential.

“At Canterbury Christ Church University we are proud to have played host to the event to allow students to explore a university campus as part of their day and interact with our student ambassadors to get insight into a lived university experience.

“The students had an enriching experience through each talk and the exhibition to meet industry experts and develop their own networks.

“A huge thank you to Reflect Digital for their planning and support in the execution of the event and an extended thank you to school staff who organised for students to be able to access and attend this conference.”

Find out more about what students and teachers thought about Aspiration Digital 2024.

Are you a student wondering what your future might hold, or a teacher looking to support students with preparing for a career in digital? Perhaps you work in the digital sphere and want to sponsor Aspiration Digital 2025 or inspire hundreds of students by giving a talk. Visit the Aspiration Digital website to stay updated with the latest news and insights, or get in touch with us today.

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Wordsmith Morgan joined the Reflect Digital team fresh out of University and is learning about the world of digital marketing while supporting the SEO team with highly engaging content. With a background in website administration and social media, she also brings a broader perspective to her clients. 

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