More than 20 extracurricular programmes across Scotland have been granted £100,000 in funding to develop the next generation of digital experts.
In total, 22 extracurricular initiatives have been awarded grants of up to £5,000 each by Digital Xtra Fund which are designed to support young people and improve digital skills in coding, data science and computer-based problem-solving.
Skyscanner is Digital Xtra Fund’s largest private sector contributor for this year’s grant awards.
Created in 2016, the Digital Xtra Fund scheme aims to help underrepresented people in the technology sector, including girls and young women, young people in rural areas and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Recipients were officially announced yesterday at an event held at Anderston Primary School in Glasgow.
Kate Forbes, MSP and Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, who attended the ceremony, said: “Technology is fundamental to young people’s lives and having digital skills opens up so many opportunities. We want to build a nation where all young people are comfortable using technology whatever their background.
“Digital Xtra Fund is a great example of different organisations working together to realise these ambitions. I look forward to seeing the initiatives supported by Digital Xtra Fund and I’m certain that they will help inspire the next generation of digital experts.”
Grant award recipients include STEAM Ahead, an initiative to teach coding and digital creativity at libraries in the Outer Hebrides, Resilient Robotics, an Islay-based initiative to help young people build and develop robots and Wear-a:bits, which introduces people from economically deprived areas Glasgow to coding.
Kraig Brown, partnerships and development manager for the Digital Xtra Fund, commented: “Today’s young people are the biggest consumers of technology, but we want to teach them how to create it, improve it, and encourage them to become Scotland’s next generation of tech leaders.
“There isn’t always an option for young people to learn advanced digital skills at school, and is why our funding is so important, as it opens up additional opportunities for young people across a wide range of backgrounds.”
Brown added: “We’re also trying to get the message out there that you don’t have to work for a tech company if you’re into coding or data science. There are career opportunities in finance, hospitality, healthcare, agriculture, even fashion – every industry now relies on technology to some degree.”