As Scotland’s recognised trade body for the digital technologies sector, ScotlandIS is leading the campaign on behalf of our members to close the skills gap and build the future talent pipeline.
We’re working with partners across industry, education and the public sector on a range of initiatives to ensure that we attract, skill and retain the best talent to meet demand.
Yesterday it was announced that one of those initiatives, the Digital Xtra Fund, has succeeded in becoming Scotland’s first charity dedicated to supporting a full range of digital skills initiatives for young people aged 16 and under.
Launched in 2016, the Digital Xtra Fund supports and encourages children aged 16 and under, especially girls, to learn computing science related skills through extracurricular digital activities. This hands-on learning encourages young people to consider digital technologies and how they might want to get involved at a point before they make critical subject choices.
Engaging in extracurricular activities is a brilliant way for young people to develop confidence, self-esteem, leadership and employability skills. This is incredibly important as we strive to develop the talent pipeline, promote pathways into the sector, and ensure the competitiveness of Scottish companies both within the ICT and digital technologies sector and beyond.
The Digital Xtra Fund is now calling on Scotland’s tech industry to contribute donations, sponsorships and offers of in kind support to ensure that extracurricular digital initiatives are available to young people wherever they live and whatever their background.
BT Scotland and Be Positive are two of the first industry supporters to make a contribution and the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership, of which ScotlandIS is a partner, has also provided funding.
The Digital Xtra Fund has to date distributed £400,000 and funded 22 projects that are expected to reach 15,000 school pupils across every local authority area in Scotland.
Funded projects include the training of over 140 librarians to deliver Code Clubs, the expansion of Apps for Good across Scotland, and initiatives that use the design of lighthouses to introduce ‘little engineers’ to STEM concepts.
The Digital Xtra Fund wants to hear from companies that wish to support young people and see a coordinated, sustainable and inclusive approach to the funding of extracurricular computing science activities.
To find out more about the Digital Xtra Fund and how to get involved, please visit: www.digitalxtrafund.scot