28 Feb 2018

Incremental Group enters partnership with Digital Xtra Fund to help nurture Scotland’s young digital talent

Incremental Group funding and project delivery support will provide young people aged 16 and under with opportunities to learn computer and digital skills, widening the provision of extracurricular digital activities across Scotland.

Digital Xtra Fund is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) that forms a key strand of a nationwide drive to develop the digital talent of all young people across Scotland. The Fund provides grant awards to support organisations that help young people develop computer and digital making skills through high-quality extracurricular activities.

Apps for Good 2017Digital Xtra Fund was originally established in 2016 and funded through the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership whose partners included Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Funding Council, Education Scotland, ScotlandIS, and industry representatives. In March 2017, Digital Xtra Fund was spun out as an independent charity to enable it to work more closely with industry and address the digital skills gap. In November, the Fund awarded a total of £50,000 to 11 exciting and engaging initiatives across Scotland. Formula 1, 3D printed drones, lighthouses, and coding for social good were just some of the activities to receive support.

The Fund is now working with organisations, including Incremental Group, who also understand the importance of teaching young people to understand and create with technology to develop the 2018 grant awards programme. Public resources in many parts of Scotland are being stretched, so a collaborative effort within the private sector is key to engaging more young people in digital technologies.

Neil Logan, CEO, Incremental Group said “Digital skills are crucial to powering the Scottish Economy but unfortunately not enough of our young people are getting those skills. Digital Xtra Fund is one way of helping get more children involved with, and excited by extracurricular, tech activity – from robotics to coding. Importantly, it targets the biggest STEM drop out group – those aged 12 to 16. We are looking forward to being paired with an interesting project that will inspire Scotland’s next generation of Technologists.”

Kraig Brown, Partnerships & Development Manager, Digital Xtra Fund said “Incremental Group’s contribution will greatly help with the delivery of the 2018 Grant Awards cycle. The funding from Incremental Group will ensure more young people across Scotland have the opportunity to take part in high-quality coding and digital making activities. We will work closely with the Incremental Group team as part of their new CSR strategy to help inspire the next generation of coders and digital makers.”

 

About Incremental Group

Incremental Group is a digital technology company that works with the government and industry to deliver the digital enterprise, step by step. It provides Consultancy, Applications, Intelligence, Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics services. These services are delivered by a growing team of over 60 digital specialists in Inverurie and in Glasgow. Customers include Total, Aggreko and The Scottish Government. www.incrementalgroup.co.uk

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20 Feb 2018

Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland: Little Lighthouse

In our fourth blog, we highlight how Digital Xtra Fund is supporting Scottish Council for Development & Industry’s ‘Little Lighthouse’ programme as part of their Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland (YESC) network. Of the 11 projects supported by Digital Xtra Fund in 2018, the Little Lighthouse programme will engage the youngest audience, introducing 6-8 year olds to digital skills.

Little Lighthouse (Gavinburn Primary School)Little Lighthouse is a creative interdisciplinary programme which encourages children to combine computing science with various other science and technology concepts such electricity, design, light and sound using lighthouses as context. During the 2016/17 pilot year, YESC received support as part of Digital Xtra Fund’s second funding round to assist with the programme’s roll-out in 40 schools across Perth & Kinross, Scottish Borders, Western Isles, and Highlands. Based on the success of this initial cohort, further support was secured from Education Scotland to extend the programme across all 120 Highland primary schools and funding from the current Digital Xtra Fund grant awards will see Little Lighthouse expanded again into Argyll & Bute and Moray. This expansion will include teacher CPD courses as well as free resource kits for 18 schools in order to deliver the programme. As part of Digital Xtra Fund’s support, YESC is targeting schools that do not currently offer extracurricular computing science related activities, building the confidence and knowledge of teachers in these schools to deliver digital activities.

The first of these CPD courses took place at Dunoon Primary earlier this year with teachers from across Argyll & Bute in attendance. Aileen Morrison from Strone Primary said, ‘The resources for science/tech are always a challenge so providing this kit is fantastic. CodeBugs are new to me – learning to use them is really helpful. The kids will love using this’. Gina Nitschke from Innellan Primary added, ‘I now have a new idea to encourage digital literacy in the P1/2 class!’.

Little Lighthouse 3 (Gavinburn Primary School)In total, 360 P2-P4 pupils in Argyll & Bute and Moray will take part in the Little Lighthouse programme learning digital concepts using Bee-Bots, CodeBugs, and Scratch. Pupils will complete eight exciting lighthouse themed modules, each building on concepts learned in the previous module. From constructing a working model lighthouse in ‘High Height’ to learning about communicating over long distances in ‘Light Delights’, by placing computing science and creativity in a real-world context alongside fun, hands-on activities, the Little Lighthouse programme helps to instil a positive attitude to digital technologies at a young age, increasing the likelihood of young people going on to choose computing science subjects at school.

Alongside support from Digital Xtra Fund, YESC is also working with BT Scotland as part of the Little Lighthouse programme to help engage young people with digital technologies. BT Scotland supports the CAS Barefoot resources which provide teachers with a brilliant range of ‘unplugged’ activities to develop computational thinking skills. Volunteers from BT Scotland are also invited to support schools participating in the programme by sharing their skills and career paths into digital roles with the children. This helps raise awareness of exciting opportunities within the digital sector in Scotland to both teachers and pupils and open their eyes to the diverse range of exciting career opportunities available within the sector.

Little Lighthouse 3Rebecca MacLennan, Programme Director at Young Engineers & Science Clubs Scotland, SCDI said, “Little Lighthouse is one of a range of innovative STEM projects available to schools across Scotland through SCDI’s YESC programme, supported by many partners including Digital Xtra Fund and BT Scotland. We are delighted to have support from Digital Xtra Fund to continue to grow the Little Lighthouse programme across Scotland by engaging another two local authorities. Our CPD courses have been very well received by teachers who are now enthused to use the lighthouse context to help pupils develop valuable skills including computational thinking and inspire the future workforce!”

Little Lighthouse is one of 11 initiatives supported by Digital Xtra Fund’s annual grant awards, contributing to our goal to give every young person in Scotland access to a digitally creative activity. These awards are made possible by the valued support of BT Scotland, a Digital Xtra Partner, and many others in Scotland’s tech industry, through sponsorship, donations and in-kind support. To help us continue this work, find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future here.

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13 Feb 2018

“How much do you get paid?”

One of the three aims of Digital Xtra Fund is to connect our Partners with the activities we support, giving their employees and young people the opportunity to engage at a grassroots level in fun and informal settings. It’s hardly surprising when you bring these groups together, two of the most common questions asked of industry professionals are – what jobs are available in the digital technologies sector and how much do you get paid? (always interesting to see how this one is handled…)

Everyone is different so while specific examples are helpful, information on a range of professions and the salaries associated with these roles may be more useful to young people and educators alike. Various resources are available online, but the most recent to be published is Be-IT’s fourth annual survey of IT and digital pay. It is especially useful in answering not only these two most common questions, but it also gives young people an indication of the salary progression that is available at different levels of experience. Plus, it is specific to Scotland which is useful for those who may be looking to stay closer to home.

Be-IT are specialists in recruiting professionals for IT, Digital, Project Management and Leadership jobs. This salary survey is conducted independently for Be-IT.

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