Posted: 28 Mar. 2018 10 min. read

A Class Act: Supporting the next generation of innovators

Skills shortages in the UK mean vacancies in science, research, engineering and technology are increasingly hard to fill. The TMT Predictions Schools Challenge aims to tackle this by inspiring a new generation to pursue careers in these sectors. Every year, teams from Deloitte Access schools are challenged to create a game-changing business or product. Sarah Butler volunteered to work as a coach for one of these teams…

The last time I was in a classroom was when I was at school.

So, walking into the St Mary Magdalene Academy in Islington to coach a team of sixth formers was a little daunting.

However, I had been inspired. In previous years I worked behind the scenes on the marketing and event planning of the TMT Predictions Schools Challenge.  I had seen first-hand the positive impact the coaches were making on the students and watched the 16 and 17 years old students in awe as they stood up to present their ideas in front of 100 people, plus a panel of respected judges at the grand finals. I wanted to become a coach and still be a part of this amazing initiative, so I volunteered. 

Together with two other Deloitte coaches on my team, we supported the students in turning their gaming idea into a business pitch which made it into the Grand Finals on 22nd March. Our support helped them to discover solutions for themselves on how to monetise, market and scale their product.

The team pitched a historic quest-based game called The Occult. The game, aimed at tourists, would allow them to discover the city using AR, enriching the users’ gaming experience. Users would visit some of London’s best-loved sights, completing puzzles and quizzes relating to an event or period of history. The game’s appeal was also based on the idea that it could be developed for any city, so there would be opportunity to scale in a vast market.

You may be wondering how an events professional could help with a technology challenge – and not just any technology, an augmented reality questing game.

Anyone, whether they work in Audit, Consulting or Internal Client Services has experience and expertise they can pass onto a new generation. For example, I was able to bring my expertise in marketing and presenting, and my fellow coach who works with entrepreneurial businesses was able to help them think about how they would scale the product.

Working with the students has been inspiring. Seeing that lightbulb moment, as they realise they know what needs to be done is a great feeling.

It was also great to work alongside two Deloitte coaches from other areas of the business. The other coaches brought an entirely different perspective when working with the students and I learnt a lot from them.

While the Challenge has given the students confidence and will hopefully inspire their career choices, it has also helped me. Working with pupils is very different to working with a team of professionals. When you teach someone, it makes you reflect on your skills and refine them, and I feel I have gained as much as my team. This has been a hugely rewarding experience and I can’t wait to get involved again next year!

Key contact

Sarah Butler

Sarah Butler


Currently working in the firms internal communications team and responsible for managing and maintaining communication channels in Deloitte North and South Europe. Previously, Sarah worked in the events industry for eleven years, five of which was spent delivering the firm’s annual partner meetings for the Deloitte Executive and client events, predominately within the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) sector.