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Cameron & Wilding, collaborating with LSBU students to help the Drupal community

Digital agency Cameron & Wilding works with London South Bank University to benefit its students and the greater Drupal software community

London South Bank University (LSBU) tenants Neil Cameron and Ben Wilding started the self-titled digital agency Cameron & Wilding (C&W) in January 2010 with the aim of designing and developing websites that support enterprises in achieving their goals. They provide open source web solutions to an impressive list of clients including The Economist, the BBC, The Telegraph and Oxford University Press.

Open collaboration and sharing

The core values of the company are professionalism and friendliness. Ben explains; "one relates to quality, high expectations and the ability to do our job well. The other means an open, trusting and honest relationship, which together makes for a great environment for individuals and teams to achieve great things."

This open, collaborative ethos extends beyond the realms of their office and the online communities in which they operate, to sharing their knowledge with LSBU students.

At LSBU, Ben and the team have given guest lectures, contributed to curricula, taken on interns and sat on the judging panel for Student Enterprise's business idea pitching competition. Ben explains that they do this for to benefit the students as well as the Drupal community.

Getting the word out

Drupal is a content management system that C&W use to develop many of their websites. It is open source software which means that its development is supported by a worldwide community of users and developers who are constantly working to improve it.

To support this continuous development, the Drupal community needs to recruit new talent and get fresh perspectives, which is why introducing LSBU Information Technology students to the software via the curriculum is so important.

"It's about getting the word out there," Ben explains.

The benefits go both ways. One of the final year undergraduate modules on LSBU's BSc (Hons) Information Technology degree revolves around a Drupal development project and as part of the teaching programme, C&W deliver a guest lecture.

"Having a Drupal development company come in and talk really emphasises the relevance of the module to real work. It has had a really positive influence on the students' enthusiasm for the module," says Mike Child, Information Technology course leader.

"This year we are aiming to become known as the best Drupal company in the UK. For us this means doing more of what we already do, improve on a couple of internal items, double in size and retain and build upon our reputation for professional consultancy and great quality work," says Ben.

Drupal internships

C&W have been supporting LSBU students and graduates moving into the workplace since 2010. The most recent intern, Navdeep Dhuti, just completed his first year of BSc (Hons) Information Technology. Nav is getting training in Drupal development and getting introduced to the tools and practices being used at C&W. In return, Nav has access to the priceless expertise of the team who support him on the development of his personal app development project.