Kao Data launches the Kao Academy

The Kao Academy was created to help engage children aged 7-11 (Key Stage 2, Years 3-6) about the growing importance and relevance of data centres to our everyday lives.

Kao Data, the specialist developer and operator of high-performance data centres for enterprise, cloud, HPC and AI, has launched the Kao Academy – an industry-first science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) resource, designed to engage primary and early secondary school-aged children with the purpose and role of a data centre.

Created in collaboration with Cambridge Science Centre, an independent, educational charity, the Kao Academy will help teach children aged 7-11 about the role of a data centre, how they are designed, engineered and constructed, and explain both their importance and relevance to our everyday lives.

Delivered via an interactive website, the Kao Academy provides users with several dedicated resources, including a live ‘data-crunching’ game, a downloadable ‘how-to’ pack which children can download to build their own data centre, as well as educational videos on how Kao Data’s award-winning KLON-1 facility in Harlow was constructed. Participants can also download additional e-learning resources to learn and play, and take part in a competition to get creative and design their own data centre, potentially winning £150 of LEGO and earning a special visit to the Kao Data campus in Harlow.

Encouraging STEM education from early years has been proven to be beneficial across the entire spectrum of learning and can influence both a student’s future academic and career choices. Through the Kao Academy, Kao Data aims to engage the next generation of technology enthusiasts at Key Stage 2 level, and encourage them to take an active interest in science and engineering, potentially even leading to some children pursuing future careers within the data centre industry.

The data centre skills shortage has long been hailed as one of the industry’s most significant challenges and in 2021, the Uptime Institute estimated staff requirements within the sector would grow to almost 2.3 million by 2025. STEM subjects have long been synonymous with the data centre industry and children who excel in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are expected to play a key role in both the growth of the UK digital economy and the country’s future as it continues to reinforce its position as a global leader in tech.

Kao Data has long-championed science and technology, and the company is named after Sir Charles Kao, who in 1966 first discovered and pioneered the use of optical fibre technology on the campus where Kao Data’s high performance Harlow data centres reside. This scientific breakthrough paved the way for the birth of the Internet, cloud, and supercomputing. Fittingly, the UK’s fastest supercomputer, NVIDIA’s Cambridge-1, is located at Kao Data, using the same technology to identify breakthroughs in digital biology and healthcare.

“Data centres are today instrumental to our way of life – they underpin many of our daily activities, support our work, entertainment, retail and financial choices, facilitate human inter-communication and were fundamental in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Adam Nethersole, Vice President, Kao Data. “Despite all of this, general understanding and appreciation of data centres is surprisingly low. Starting with children, and through the Kao Academy, our mission is to drive greater awareness of data centres, their crucial role, and showcase the people who design, build, and operate them.”

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