Pupils in every secondary school in Glasgow have been provided a direct connection with digital technology practitioners and companies, as part of a new initiative to meet the rapidly growing and changing skills requirements of the digital industry.
The ‘Digital Critical Friends’ programme is a partnership between ScotlandIS and DYW (Developing the Young Workforce) Glasgow and Glasgow City Council secondary schools. ScotlandIS is the membership and cluster management organisation for Scotland’s digital technologies industry. The programme matches teachers with individuals from industry to strengthen the relationship on both sides, share current industry practices and give industry the opportunity to feed into curriculum development.
Businesses that have already signed up to the initiative include PwC, Virgin Money, Amazon, Leidos, Morgan Stanley and Adobe.
Karen Meechan, Interim Chair of ScotlandIS, said: “We know that a big reason the skills gap in our industry exists is because of the drop-off rates of school children and young people choosing the subject, or having the opportunity to.
“Our aim is to become involved to help rectify this and provide industry mentors for computer sciences teachers across Glasgow. This will allow us to let teachers know what’s happening, where the new technologies are, and help them advocate for more or better funding for their department and encourage young people into the computing and tech subjects.”
Alison McRae, Senior Director Glasgow Chamber of Commerce from DYW Glasgow commented: “Businesses play a key role in the response to the recommendations of the Logan Review, this project provides a great opportunity for digital tech businesses in Glasgow and Scotland to influence future skills and talent to meet future economic demand. Our goal for this legacy building project is to ensure the curriculum is industry relevant, that teachers are upskilled, and sector savvy and young people have an increased awareness of digital career opportunities through industry
In 2020, The Logan Report assessed the Scottish technology sector, concluding that computing science should be treated as a core school subject in the same way as maths and physics. It found that 13,000 digital tech job opportunities are created every year in Scotland and filling all of them would add £1bn to Scotland’s economy.
The other businesses already involved in the Digital Critical Friends programme are CalMac Ferries, i-Confidential Limited, Skills Development Scotland, Cutitronics, Massive Digital, Capgemini, Palo Alto Networks, University of Strathclyde, Codify, BJSS and Nomadix Media.