What is the Scottish Tech Army?
Founded by Edinburgh based entrepreneurs, Alistair Forbes and Peter Jaco, the Scottish Tech Army Limited is a not for profit company that is building a volunteer Covid-19 technical response team that will work to help the Scottish Government, Local Authorities and other organisations across the country with rapid technical development projects to address current Covid-19 related challenges and post pandemic economic recovery.
Does the Scottish Tech Army have an agenda?
We are non-political and have no agenda other than wanting to help the Scottish government access the world class technical talent that we have in this country to support those on the front lines and in our communities. Please volunteer to help, we need you!
Where will the ‘Army’ come from and what tech skills do you need?
We will be looking for talented Scottish technical staff, furloughed or not, with volunteers sought from the broad range of the tech development world including software developers, project and programme managers, social media and marketing, business analysts, application deployment, operations expertise and Salesforce design and customisation skills.
Who is helping the Scottish Tech Army to launch the company?
We are fortunate that many people across Scotland’s business community have been supporting us in the formation of the business and volunteering their time and pro bono services. We would like to thank the companies and individuals who have supported us including legal services from MBM Commercial, logo design and branding support from Porridge Design, PR support from Hot Tin Roof and support from recruitment group, Head Resourcing who will help us recruit volunteers through their network and match people to projects. We will also work with Scottish venture capital firms, professional services firms and public bodies to publicise the call for talent to their extensive networks.
What type of projects are the Scottish Army looking for?
The Scottish Tech Army is building a rapid response force to address short and midterm recovery phase responses to the Covid-19 pandemic so all projects will require a focus and have an urgent requirement. Please see our website where you can submit a project idea or support request.
How is Scottish Tech Army funded?
Scottish Tech Army is a not for profit company, limited by guarantee and run by its founders on a voluntary basis. The company was created with the pro bono support from Scottish legal, recruitment, public relations and design firms.
The Scottish Government has had many offers of support from organisations in the form of digital products and services, many of which are being offered on a pro-bono basis.
Everyone who joins the Scottish Tech Army will be doing so as a volunteer, offering their time and talents to help us deliver a wide range of projects to the Scottish Government.
Are you not too late with this?
Until there is a cure for Covid-19 and we have achieved a safe exit from lockdown and got everyone back to work, then no, we are not too late. We are under no illusions that for the Scottish Tech Army to be of value, time is of the essence. Our approach is to start quickly, iterate rapidly and scale based on demand. The initial objective is to be able to deliver a worthwhile number of meaningful projects within the period covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, currently approved to run until the end of June 2020.
Are you duplicating effort – there are lots of schemes out there?
We have seen lots of great initiatives from organisations and individuals that are acting on their own initiative but there is nothing else like the Scottish Tech Army in Scotland. We have world class technologists here and we want to give these people a chance to support the Scottish Government and those on the front lines by using their technology skills. We believe that it will help provide a sense of purpose during this challenging time and they will also have a chance to meet like-minded people, share skills and build their networks, all useful things to do at this time.
What happens at the end of furlough if a project is not finished?
Working with the Scottish Government, we will decide the best way forward for all projects at the end of the furlough period. It could be that an SME that the Scottish Tech Army was supporting to deliver the project will win an ongoing contract and even employ some of the ‘Army’ volunteers to help them complete the project. We are keen to help technologists that have been impacted by Covid-19 find new career opportunities to help the recovery phase.
How many projects do you have? How many volunteers do you need?
At this stage we are still working with the Scottish Government and others to ascertain the number of projects that we will have, and the resources that each project will require, and this will be ongoing work. Also, until we launch our Tech Army recruitment drive, we will not know how many volunteer Tech Army members we will have to deploy on various projects.
Who is the Scottish Tech Army working with in the Scottish Government?
We are working with the team at CivTech, the GovTech innovation group within the Digital Directorate of the Scottish Government, as we think that many of the requirements will come from the public sector and CivTech is coordinating digital projects across the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Government has had many offers of support from companies across Scotland and is busy triaging the results in terms of importance. The Scottish Tech Army will be able to help with direct action on some of these projects where we feel we can make a difference.
How will projects be chosen?
We will work with CivTech, to agree projects where the Scottish Tech Army can deliver most value, most quickly. All projects will be focused to support response to the challenges generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. We will have a CivTech project manager working with the Scottish Tech Army team to ensure smooth communication.
Who is in charge of the projects?
Each project will have a Scottish Tech Army team assembled to deliver the project, led by a Project Manager who will report to and be supported by the STA leadership group.
Will volunteers be allowed to stay on and complete the project at the end of furlough or will they have to return to work?
It really depends on the situation with the individual Tech Army volunteer and that particular project. Some people will return to their employment after the furlough period is ended while unfortunately, we have already seen a number of talented
people laid off due to the Covid-19 economic downturn. We would hope that by working with the Scottish Tech Army they will keep their skills fresh and also increase their network which could lead to a new job in the Scottish technology sector.
I am keen to volunteer but will my employer let me?
Everybody’s situation is different at this time. We have had people who are still in full time employment approach us about joining the Tech Army as well as technologists who are furloughed and some people who have recently lost their jobs. You should definitely speak to your employer and let them know that you are joining the Scottish Tech Army.
How will the Scottish Army promote themselves?
The Scottish Tech Army will promote themselves via social media channels and our network of key influencers and supporters. If you have any further questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org