A day at Microsoft’s London flagship store

Last Monday, 8th July, I got the chance to preview the Microsoft London flagship store – their first physical retail store in the UK. Spread over three floors, the interior is sleek and open and full of inspiring and incredible tech and highly trained and energetic Microsoft employees.

Whilst there, I attended a LinkedIn workshop in their Community Theatre led by three of Microsoft’s enthusiastic employees. This fantastic workshop gave me key insights on how to create a professional profile that would be accessible and attractive to potential employers. For instance, I had no idea that simply having a photo on your profile makes you 21 times more likely to be viewed and 9 times more likely to receive a request to connect. Nor did I understand the importance of listing your skills and getting endorsements from other users. As they explained, this is now your digital CV and so being able to articulate your talents and then have that corroborated by peers, colleagues, or mentors is a reliable system of accreditation that could help you land a crucial interview or job.

The Community Theatre is an incredible space that will be open to UK Youth to use to deliver training and help spread digital skills. The Community Theatre will offer many different workshops ranging from STEM learning and coding, to understanding the Microsoft suite. Many of these will be available to the public for free. With the looming pressure of automation on jobs, these skills will be increasingly essential for the next generation, and this is an innovative way to get them engaged and upskilled at an early age.

Beyond this, the trip was a wonderful opportunity to explore the latest frontier of cutting-edge technology, with three floors of demonstrations. The HoloLens mixed-reality headset felt like something lifted straight out of a sci-fi novel, allowing you to interact with a 3D hologram of Oxford Street, both in the present and Victorian era. While the McLaren Senna on the ground floor was breath-taking, offering an immersive racing simulation experience. It isn’t hard to imagine the enormous potential of this technology, and for young people visiting the prospect of being involved that progress must be inspiring. Importantly, from a youth perspective, these features will bring young people through the door, making them more likely to engage with one of the workshops and equip them with digital skills for the future.

This blog was written by Freddie Price, who is currently a Politics, Philosophy & Economics student at University College of London and has just completed his second year of studies. With a view to work in public affairs beyond university, Freddie has joined UK Youth for the Summer to gain experience in their Engagement & Advocacy Team, hoping to obtain insight into how they advocate and influence policy on a national level on behalf of the thousands of youth organisations that are a part of their movement.

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