28 Sep 2018

Microsoft and Digital Xtra Fund to work together supporting digital skills for young people in Scotland

Microsoft’s support will be included as part of the recently announced funding round to help engage and inspire more young people through extracurricular digital technologies activities.

When Microsoft was created in 1975, computer programming was a skill known to a select few. However, as the world increasingly becomes digital, more and more roles in all industries will require advanced digital skills such as computational thinking, coding, or data analysis. Even people who choose not to become actual developers or data scientists will need to understand concepts such as machine learning and internet of things, and how they can affect the rest of the organisation.

Stirling High School 1As such, Microsoft recently launched a programme to teach advanced digital skills to people across the UK and help ensure the country remains a global leader in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and other next-generation technologies. This includes Microsoft’s commitment to recruit an extra 30,000 digital apprentices for its network of 25,000 partners in the UK, including 6,000 new digital apprentices in Scotland. This is in addition to the 11,000 apprentices already recruited and smashes the target of 4,000 set in 2012. Microsoft has also made it a priority to ensure more women and minority groups are included and supported in these schemes.

Microsoft realises the importance of engaging and inspiring young people with digital technologies from an early age, to sufficiently increase the future talent pool and give as many children as possible the skills they will need to succeed. The company is actively supporting early education through a variety of initiatives including recently selecting Bertha Park High School in Perth as one of one of 17 schools for the first cohort of Microsoft Flagship Schools – the only one based in the UK. Bertha Park High School will have the opportunity to use ground-breaking digital technology to help pupils learn and develop. Teachers will also be encouraged to collaborate with peers in other countries, including the US, Argentina, Germany, Australia and China, to share best practice.

Stirling High SchoolMicrosoft also understands that supporting extracurricular activities is another key route to engaging and inspiring young people. Introducing young people to digital technologies through activities outwith school enables participants to understand skills such as computational thinking, coding, and data science before they are required to choose their courses in S2 (around age 12 or 13), something which can be intimidating for students unsure what is computer science. In addition, some computing courses have been reduced or even dropped in Scotland with over half the Local Authorities lacking enough teachers to sufficiently teach computing science in secondary schools, making extracurricular activities the best option for many of these young people to learn about digital technologies.*

Digital Xtra Fund is a charity created to support and grow extracurricular digital technology initiatives across Scotland which give young people opportunity to learn advanced digital skills regardless of their gender, background, or where they live. Backed by businesses, organisations, and individuals with a common will to help young people succeed in a digital world, the Fund provides grants for extracurricular activities that teach young people to understand and create with technology, not simply consume it, and also connects its Partners with supported initiatives to help connect young people with industry professionals.

Most recently, Digital Xtra Fund announced a funding round with £75,000 available. Groups can apply for up to £5,000 for initiatives running in 2019 and applications close 1 November. Since its inception in 2016, the Fund has supported 33 initiatives helping introduce nearly 20,000 young people to the amazing career and life opportunities digital technology can provide.

Stirling High School 3Steven Grier, Country Manager for Scotland at Microsoft, said: “As businesses in Scotland and beyond embrace the huge opportunities driven by AI and Machine Learning, its hugely important that we, as a country, continue to build a skills pipeline of talented, innovative, creative young people to help us stay at the forefront of this technology driven revolution. Digital Xtra Fund helps inspire young people to get involved with digital technology, to imagine the possibilities and ultimately to pursue a career in digital, helping us close our skills gaps and empowering Scotland to achieve more!”

Kraig Brown, Partnerships & Development Manager, Digital Xtra Fund, said: “2018 has been a very exciting year for Digital Xtra Fund as we have welcomed a number of new Partners ranging from companies created and based here in Scotland to multinationals like Microsoft. The support we’ve received from such a variety of organisations speaks to the importance of engaging young people in digital technologies in as many ways possible and showing them the range of careers these skills can provide. For many young people, choosing computer science as a course can be intimidating if they don’t know what it involves or the exciting opportunities these skills can provide. Extracurricular activity is the perfect way to engage more young people and get them exciting about tech.”

*Farrell, Kate. “Computing Science Teachers in Scotland” Computing at School Scotland, BCS, 2016, www.cas.scot/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/ComputingTeachersinScotland-CASSReport2016.pdf

*McIvor, Jamie. “Warning over STEM teacher recruitment” BBC Scotland, 30 August 2017, www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-41083438

 

About Microsoft:

Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/

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14 Aug 2018

CityFibre tackles digital skills gap in partnership with Digital Xtra Fund

CityFibre, one of the UK’s leading infrastructure providers, has pledged its support in tackling the digital skills gap in Scotland.

The company – which has created Gigabit Cities in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling – is partnering with Digital Xtra Fund as part of a commitment to help young people across the country.

Young people benefit from digital skillsLaunched in 2016 by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership, a collaboration of public and private sector organisations, Digital Xtra Fund became an independent charity in March 2017. The Fund aims to ensure that young people have the opportunity to develop the skills required to thrive in the digital age regardless of their gender, background, or where they live.

The partnership will see CityFibre lend financial support, in turn allowing the Fund to boost exciting extracurricular digital technology activities across Scotland such as Stirling High School’s Digital Learning Hub in partnership with CodeBase Stirling, The Prince’s Trust’s #PTDigiDay in Glasgow as part of their Achieve Programme, or Angus Young Engineers’ CAD/CAM Café in Angus.

CityFibre has already shown its commitment to supporting a growth in digital skills across Scotland, having connected a number of schools to its full fibre networks. That infrastructure is laying the foundation for young people to use cutting-edge digital tools and unlock e-learning initiatives such as coding and app-building – skills which will only grow in value in the years to come.

James McClafferty, Head of Regional Development for CityFibre, said: “Digital Xtra Fund is playing a key role in helping young people learn the skills they will need to succeed in a digital future. It is crucial that they are supported by industry, which is why CityFibre is delighted to come on board as a key partner.

CityFibre helps connect schools across Scotland“The full fibre networks we are building across Scotland and the rest of the UK will be vital in helping to unlock the digital potential our young people have, and ensure they are not held back by our current infrastructure. As digital connectivity becomes more and more essential, we have to ensure our young people are capable of making the most of its potential. We look forward to working with Digital Xtra Fund and to identifying projects to support across Scotland.”

In addition to schools, CityFibre’s ultrafast networks are also accelerating the digital capabilities of businesses, local councils, libraries and community centres and the company is determined to help ensure Scotland becomes one of the world’s best connected places.

That vision is fast becoming a reality as CityFibre embarks on its partnership with Vodafone which will see cities transformed through the ‘Fibre to the Premises’ programme. This will bring Gigabit-capable full fibre to one million homes and businesses across the UK by 2021 – with Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Stirling among the first cities announced.

Recent research by economic consultancy Regeneris examined how the economy would benefit from full fibre connectivity, quantifying the impact to cities over 15 years. Across that time period – when many of today’s school pupils will be entering the employment market – there is a clear benefit to full fibre in areas including productivity, innovation, worker flexibility and health.

For example, in the four cities in Scotland where CityFibre is operational – Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling – there is a predicted £458m impact in terms of productivity and innovation.

Kraig Brown, Partnerships & Development Manager, Digital Xtra Fund, said: “It is a very exciting time to partner with CityFibre as they begin to transform the digital landscape of the UK and bring gigabit speed connectivity to entire communities. The high-quality initiatives supported by Digital Xtra Fund will spark that first interest in digital technologies and equip young people with the skills and experiences they need to succeed in a digital age, but it is organisations like CityFibre who will help fuel long-term possibilities for the next generation.

“Key to a strong digital future is an environment where businesses big and small can develop and grow uninhibited by ageing technology and infrastructure. Unlimited bandwidth has the potential to change the digital landscape for today’s young people as much as email and mobile phones did for my generation.”

 

About CityFibre:

CityFibre is the UK’s leading alternative provider of wholesale full fibre network infrastructure. With dense duct and fibre footprints in over 40 cities throughout the UK, it provides a portfolio of active and dark fibre services to its customers which include service integrators, enterprise and consumer service providers, local authorities and mobile operators. CityFibre has also recently partnered with Vodafone to bring ultrafast Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to up to one million UK homes and businesses by 2021.

CityFibre is based in London, United Kingdom, and is privately owned by a consortium of Antin Infrastructure Partners and West Street Infrastructure Partners, a fund managed by Goldman Sachs.
www.cityfibre.com

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09 Aug 2018

Micro:bit Educational Foundation provides additional support for initiatives backed by Digital Xtra Fund

I heart micro:bitMicro:bit Educational Foundation has donated 1,200 micro:bits to extracurricular digital skills initiatives supported by Digital Xtra Fund.

Six initiatives across Scotland will benefit from a total of 1,200 micro:bits as part of their support from Digital Xtra Fund. The hardware, donated by Micro:bit Educational Foundation, will enable Apps for Good, Inverness Science Festival, McLaren High School, CodeBase Stirling, The Prince’s Trust, and West College Scotland to deliver activities beyond the initial funded programme run and help inspire even more young people into digital technologies.

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation’s vision is to inspire every child to create their best digital future by enabling children around the world to get creative with technology and invent in their schools, clubs, and at home. Similarly, Digital Xtra Fund is striving to give every young person in Scotland access to digitally creative activities regardless of their gender, background, or where they live by providing grant awards for exciting initiatives which inspire young people to understand and create with technology, not just consume it. Both organisations were created in 2016 and share very similar goals, presenting a natural opportunity to work together in Scotland.

Credit: Apps for Good

Credit: Apps for Good

The six initiatives received grants as part of the 2017/18 Digital Xtra Fund grant awards to deliver a variety of exciting digital skills initiatives across Scotland. Each have a unique approach to engaging young people with digital technology. For instance, Apps for Good teaches young people how to build, market and launch digital solutions to address challenges faced by their community and a total of 332 micro:bits will be distributed to nine schools across Scotland who have enrolled in their Internet of Things course. The course explores the benefits and potential issues surrounding IoT and introduces participants to the technology underpinning IoT devices. Students learn how to build circuits using sensors and actuators so that they can understand the principles behind the technology. Resources are based on the micro:bit and Arduino microprocessor boards, so having the hardware on hand is key to learning the material. Schools will also retain the hardware, allowing them to reuse it to deliver future activities.

During last year’s Apps for Good IoT course, the award-winning solution ‘SafeStep’ was created using micro:bits by students at Dunoon Grammar School. It consisted of a range of potentially life-saving rugs with inbuilt pressure sensors that determined if somebody had fallen and uses an app to alert carers or loved ones.

Credit: Micro:bit Educational Foundation

Credit: Micro:bit Educational Foundation

West College Scotland will take a different approach to engaging young people with the micro:bits sharing a total of 500 units between three new coding clubs at Renfrewshire secondary schools and 27 primary and secondary teachers who took part in a training session hosted by WCS in association with Microsoft Education, Renfrewshire Council, and Paisley YMCA. The session focused on increasing teachers’ confidence and encouraging the use of coding in the classroom with each teacher receiving a set of micro:bits for use in their classroom. This training is vital to creating a strong ecosystem of computing activities in Renfrewshire as these teachers will now manage the current coding clubs as well as initiate new ones with the assistance of STEM Ambassadors and senior school pupils.

Kavita Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, Micro:bit Educational Foundation said, “The impact of this initiative has been shown to be very positive and the Foundation is very proud to have supported the scheme ”

Kraig Brown, Partnerships & Development Manager, Digital Xtra Fund said, “Since 2016, initiatives supported by Digital Xtra Fund have engaged nearly 20,000 young people across Scotland. The real legacy of the Fund will be a strong ecosystem of extracurricular activities who have the right hardware and educator confidence to continue giving young people the opportunity to get hands on and creative with technology. Support from organisations like Micro:bit Educational Foundation is key to achieving this legacy.”

Digital Xtra Fund is currently developing the 2018/19 grant awards supporting digital skills initiatives across Scotland, many of which use the micro:bit to engage young people. The Fund is supported by a range of industry partners who share a common will to help young people succeed in a digital world including the Micro:bit Educational Foundation. The Foundation is also in the midst of rolling out their biggest and most exciting micro:bit coding challenge to date – the global micro:bit challenge – and has commissioned Lancaster University’s Department of Educational Research to research ‘Using Micro:bit Devices in Teaching and Learning’. The study seeks to explore how teachers and students have been using the micro:bit to support teaching and learning in computing as well as in wider cross-curricular ways.

 

About Micro:bit Educational Foundation

Micro:bit Educational Foundation’s vision is to inspire every child to create their best digital future. The Foundation is enabling children around the world to get creative with technology and invent in school, in clubs, and at home. The micro:bit is a handheld, fully programmable computer that was rolled out across the UK in 2016. It’s 70 times smaller than the original BBC Micro computers used in schools in the early 1980s, and now it has built-in sensors, an LED display and a Bluetooth radio, so it’s instantly interactive.

Started by the BBC and a team of partners, Micro:bit Educational Foundation is a non-profit organisation continuing the micro:bit programme and bringing it to schools and children around the world. The Foundation was established with the support of our founding partners in September 2016. Micro:bit Educational Foundation is a UK based organisation and redistributes the bulk of any surplus money generated into providing free devices to exceptional micro:bit educational programmes across the globe.

http://microbit.org/

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18 Jul 2018

Zonal supports Scotland’s next generation techies with Digital Xtra Fund

Leading Scottish technology firm, Zonal, has teamed up with Digital Xtra Fund to help fund technology initiatives for young people across Scotland.

The funding will help guarantee that even more young people have access to digitally creative activities and give them a better understanding of the future career opportunities digital skills provide, regardless of their gender, background, or where they live.

ZonalEdinburgh based Zonal was recently voted Family Business of the Year 2018 and for almost 40 years has been designing and delivering technology solutions for the hospitality sector, including its market leading EPoS system, Aztec. Today, it employs around 550 people with over 200 located at its Tanfield headquarters.

Head of Human Resources, Catriona Dick, said: “Our chief executive’s father, Ralph McLean, devised the UK’s first EPoS solution for his hotel in order to keep track of sales and stock. Fast forward 39 years and Zonal is number one across the UK when it comes to providing the hospitality sector with technology innovations and we are keen to make sure the next generation have the skillset in place to keep us in pole position.

“We have been impressed by the work of Digital Xtra Fund and are delighted to play our part in supporting more young people as they discover the fantastic range of job opportunities open to them in the blossoming world of digital technology.”

The support from Zonal will form part of the Fund’s annual grant awards for high-quality digital skills initiatives in Scotland and will include visits to the firm’s HQ with mentoring support for students seeking a career in technology.

Kraig Brown, Partnerships & Development Manager, Digital Xtra Fund said: “We are very excited to welcome Zonal as a Partner of Digital Xtra Fund. Zonal is a highly successful family owned technology company and very proud of its Scottish heritage. The company is a great innovator and shares our commitment to bridge the digital skills gap through partnership and collaboration. We look forward to working with the team at Zonal to help inspire more young people across Scotland.”

Photo by Rory SempleDigital Xtra Fund was originally established in 2016 and funded through the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership whose partners included both public sector and industry representatives. In March 2017, Digital Xtra Fund became an independent charity to enable it to work with a wider range of partners. In its first year as a charity, the Fund supported 11 fun and engaging digital skills initiatives across Scotland ranging from coding clubs in rural areas to designing apps and technology for social good.

Zonal is the leading provider of integrated hospitality management solutions to over 16,000 leisure and hospitality businesses across the UK. For nearly 40 years, the company has been working closely with clients to enhance the customer experience through market leading technology, experienced people and a partnership approach to business.

 

About Zonal:

Zonal began in 1979 when the McLean Family identified the need to monitor sales, stock, and wastage in their family hotel near Edinburgh when they noticed shortfalls in stock and takings. Zonal founder, the late Ralph McLean, invented a solution to manage and control operations and the first EPoS system was created.  After being adopted by a number of regional breweries and pub groups, the family hotel was sold to grow the business from their offices on Forth Street in Edinburgh. The Forth Street site remained the company’s head office until 2014 when it moved to state of the art premises at Tanfield.

Zonal has developed and evolved from a small Scottish business to a company that employs over 450 people whilst still maintaining its proud Scottish heritage. Today, Zonal solutions are used daily in over 15,000 leisure and hospitality businesses across the UK, ranging from restaurant and pub groups, night clubs to, garden centres.  The company’s full product suite of technology solutions enable Zonal to offer a fully integrated service to any hospitality business.

https://www.zonal.co.uk/

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10 Jul 2018

Baillie Gifford partners with Digital Xtra Fund to invest in digital skills across Scotland

Known for investing in digital tech companies from Silicon Valley and Shenzhen, Baillie Gifford is partnering with Digital Xtra Fund to invest in digital tech skills here in Scotland.

Digital Xtra Fund is delighted to announce a partnership with global Investment Managers, Baillie Gifford. Digital Xtra Fund is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) which supports extracurricular digital technology activities across Scotland, giving young people opportunity to learn advanced digital skills regardless of their gender, background, or where they live. Backed by businesses, organisations, and individuals with a common will to help young people succeed in a digital world, the Fund provides grant awards for activities which inspire, engage, and enable young people to be digitally innovative and creative, and helps them understand the variety of future career opportunities these skills will make available.

BG Partnership AnnouncementDigital Xtra Fund became a charity in March 2017 to enable it to work with a wide range of industry partners. Last year, the Fund awarded grant awards for 11 exciting, high-quality initiatives across Scotland such as Stirling High School’s Digital Learning Hub in partnership with CodeBase Stirling. The initiative saw pupils from SHS deliver a variety of Raspberry Pi based workshops to six primary schools in the area creating a sustainable ecosystem of young developers in Stirling.

Helping young people and the community is part of the culture at Baillie Gifford. For more than 100 years, it has been a feature of the Edinburgh community and has a long history of supporting initiatives which make positive differences in the areas of the arts, education, and sports. Baillie Gifford’s support for Digital Xtra Fund will extend their already considerable CSR programme and give more young people the skills needed to succeed in an increasingly digital world. Baillie Gifford recognises it is important to foster these digital skills as more and more companies look to recruit young digital talent and increase their diversity to grow and achieve success. Baillie Gifford’s successful track record of finding and investing in emerging and growing tech companies speaks to their ability to also recognise and support strong digital talent.

Mark Urquhart, Partner at Baillie Gifford, said: “As investors, we have long observed the powerful impact which technology can have in terms of changing lives and improving access to opportunities. We are happy to be able to support the exciting work of Digital Xtra Fund in trying to encourage similar outcomes in Scotland through wider use of technologies.”

Kraig Brown, Partnerships & Development Manager, Digital Xtra Fund, said: “Our partnership with Baillie Gifford marks a new chapter for Digital Xtra Fund; as a financial company, they are our first “non-tech” partner, however, through their work with some of the world’s most successful tech companies as well as their investment in their own digital infrastructure, they recognise the necessity for young people to learn high-level digital skills to succeed in any sector. Their support illustrates the important role digital technology plays across all parts of the Scottish economy and how Digital Xtra Fund is perfectly placed to be the de facto young people’s digital skills charity for all sectors.”

 

About Baillie Gifford:

Baillie Gifford is an investment management firm wholly owned by 44 partners, all of whom work within the firm. It was founded in Edinburgh in 1908 and still has its headquarters in the city today. As of 31 March 2018, Baillie Gifford has £177.6 billion under management and advice in specialist equity, fixed income and multi-asset portfolios for a global client base.

Whether through their financial or community investments, Baillie Gifford believes the best ideas spring from thinking about future possibilities, not short-term probabilities. They are committed to partnering with dynamic organisations who strive to make Scotland a better place to live, work and visit. https://www.bailliegifford.com

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15 Jun 2018

Sky UK teams up with Digital Xtra Fund to support digital tech activities in West Lothian

Digital Xtra Fund is proud to announce a new partnership with Sky UK to grow and develop even more high-quality extracurricular digital technologies activities for young people in West Lothian.

Last month’s Tech Nation 2018 Report painted a very positive picture for the UK technology industry, with strong signs of development coming from Scotland’s key tech hubs including Livingston in West Lothian. Livingston was highlighted as one area with above-average tech employment, which is key to inspiring more young people to consider a career in digital technology.

As the main private sector employer in West Lothian, Sky UK recognises the important role it plays helping young people succeed in an increasingly digital world, especially as a major technology company itself. They have teamed up with Digital Xtra Fund to grow and develop high-quality computing science activities for young people in the region.

Digital Xtra Fund is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) determined to give every young person in Scotland access to digitally creative activities regardless of their gender, background, or where they live. Backed by businesses, organisations, and individuals with a common will to help young people succeed in a digital world, the Fund delivers grant awards for activities which inspire, engage, and enable young people to be digitally innovative and creative, and gives them a clearer understanding of the future career opportunities digital skills provide.

Team AcceleRaceDigital Xtra Fund was established in 2016 and originally funded through the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership. In March 2017, the Fund became an independent charity to enable it to work with a wider range of industry partners. Last year, grant awards were provided for 11 exciting, high-quality initiatives across Scotland including the highly successful F1 in Schools STEM Challenge which saw two all-girl teams from West Lothian qualify for the F1 in Schools World Finals in Singapore.

As a hugely recognisable brand found in millions of homes, Sky knows it has a responsibility to affect real change, whether through its Sky Sports Living for Sport programme or Sky Academy, which works with young people from primary school right through to starting their career to build digital skills and experience. Since opening in 2012, more than 85,000 young people have visited Sky Academy Studios in London and Livingston to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at Sky. In November, it launched Sky Academy Studios at its Italian headquarters in Milan.

Sky is constantly striving to develop a talented, capable, and dedicated workforce committed to creating success for all its stakeholders. The company recognises that investment in the next generation through programmes like Digital Xtra Fund and Sky Academy is crucial to the progression of the technology, media and entertainment industries.

Ronnie Corse, Head of Technology at Sky, said: “Sky Technology Scotland are delighted to be working with Digital Xtra Fund to help engage more young people in digital technologies. Technology is the foundation of Sky’s business and is the driving force behind all our products and services. As one of the biggest employers in West Lothian it is important that we reach out and support the local community. This partnership gives us a great opportunity to build on the existing relationships that we have made with local schools and colleges and to further promote the exciting careers available to young people in Technology & Digital.”

Kraig Brown, Partnerships & Development Manager, Digital Xtra Fund, said: “Sky UK is well recognised as a leader in the UK entertainment and communications industry, an industry that young people are very interested in. This makes partnering with Sky a very exciting opportunity for us and the initiatives we support. We are really looking forward to working with their team to not only engage more young people in tech in West Lothian, but to also show them the wide range of interesting and innovative careers right here in Scotland”

 

About Sky UK:

Sky UK is part of Europe’s leading entertainment and communications business. With over 22.5 million customers across UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and Italy, Sky makes life easier by entertaining and connecting people. Sky is constantly ensuring it is the home of more of the best content from around the world, with sustained market-leading innovation across multiple platforms, delivered by a trusted brand that offers exceptional customer service.

Sky is also committed to using their platform to inspire, create, and act alongside delivering strong and sustained financial performance and returns. Sky seeks to make a wider contribution to the communities in which they live and work through supporting local digital tech, sport, and environmental initiatives. https://www.sky.com/

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03 May 2018

Skyscanner to help digital skills take off in Scotland with Digital Xtra Fund

Digital Xtra Fund is proud to announce a new partnership with Skyscanner, the global travel search engine. Skyscanner’s support will increase the number of digital technology initiatives for young people across Scotland; ensuring even more young people have access to digitally creative activities regardless of their gender, background, or where they live.

Digital Xtra Fund is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) which supports extracurricular activities that inspire, enable, and engage young people to be digitally innovative and creative while giving them a better understanding of the future career opportunities digital skills provide.

EISF Generation Science LEGO MindstormsDigital Xtra Fund was originally established in 2016 and funded through the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership whose partners included both public sector and industry representatives. In March 2017, Digital Xtra Fund became an independent charity to enable it to work with a wider range of partners. In it’s first year as a charity, the Fund supported 11 fun and engaging digital skills initiatives across Scotland ranging from coding clubs in rural areas to designing apps and technology for social good.

Skyscanner was launched in 2003 after CEO Gareth Williams felt there must be an easier way to find cheap flights for his upcoming skiing holiday. The idea of Skyscanner was originally drafted on the back of a beermat, and 15 years later, is now used by 70 million people per month. More than 900 staff are based in 10 offices around the world, including in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

As one of Scotland’s leading technology companies, Skyscanner shares Digital Xtra Fund’s ambitions to inspire more young people with technology and have become the Fund’s first Gigabyte Partner. Support from Skyscanner will be included as part of the Fund’s annual grant awards for high-quality digital skills initiatives in Scotland; and will help demonstrate to young people the breadth of exciting opportunities a future in tech can provide.

Michael Hall, Senior Engineering Manager at Skyscanner said, “Our founder, Gareth, took his first steps towards building Skyscanner at the age of 11, when he started learning assembly language with his dad, creating his own basic computer games. We’re delighted to support Digital Xtra Fund and are really excited to play a part in enabling more young people to discover the world of technology, like Gareth did all those years ago.”

Kraig Brown, Partnerships & Development Manager, Digital Xtra Fund said, “We are very excited to welcome Skyscanner as a Partner of Digital Xtra Fund. Support from one of the most well-known and successful tech companies to ever come out of Scotland speaks volumes about the value of working together to tackle the digital skills gap. As they say, many hands make light work and we look forward to working with the team at Skyscanner to help inspire more young people across Scotland.”

 

About Skyscanner:

Skyscanner is a leading global travel search site, a place where people are inspired to plan and book direct from millions of travel options at the best prices. They are unbiased and free, which means that the 60 million people who use them every month can trust our comprehensive range of flight, hotel and car hire options.  Founded in 2003, they employ over 900 staff, with offices in Barcelona, Beijing, Budapest, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Miami, Shenzhen, Singapore and Sofia. Skyscanner is part of the Ctrip group. https://www.skyscanner.net

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28 Mar 2018

BT Scotland renews support of Digital Xtra Fund to help make high-quality computing science activities available to young people

BT Scotland has renewed its partnership with digital skills charity, Digital Xtra Fund. Its support will ensure high-quality digital technologies activities will continue to be available for young people in the Glasgow City Region.

Digital Xtra Fund is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) striving to give every young person in Scotland access to digitally creative activities regardless of their gender, background, or where they live. In partnership with industry, the Fund delivers grant awards for activities which inspire, enable and engage young people to be digitally innovative and creative, giving them a better understanding of the future career opportunities digital skills provide.

BT Partnership AnnouncementDigital Xtra Fund was originally established in 2016 and funded through the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership. In March 2017, Digital Xtra Fund was spun out as an independent charity to enable it to work with a wider range of industry partners, with BT Scotland signing up to support the Fund from the outset. Last year, the Fund awarded grant awards for 11 exciting, high-quality initiatives across Scotland ranging from robotic competitions to designing model Formula 1 cars.

In 2017/18, support from BT Scotland helped develop coding clubs in Renfrewshire delivered by West College Scotland. This support gave young people from the west of Scotland the opportunity to build their digital skills; creating games, graphics and sounds, and discovering emerging technologies such as virtual reality.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “BT is right behind Digital Xtra Fund because we believe every young Scot needs to learn digital skills as a basic, along with reading and writing. It’s vital that industry works together with the public and voluntary sectors to tackle Scotland’s digital skills shortage and prepare young people for the future world of work. We’re proud to renew our support.”

Kraig Brown, Partnerships & Development Manager, Digital Xtra Fund said, “BT Scotland’s support for us as a new charity was hugely important to helping deliver the first round of grant awards. Equally, BT renewing their support for 2018/19, along with our other new partnerships, recognises the Fund is achieving what it set out to do and is now gaining momentum. We look forward to working with the team at BT Scotland to support some fantastic future initiatives and inspire more young people in digital tech.”

 

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2017, BT Group’s reported revenue was £24,062m with reported profit before taxation of £2,354m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. www.bt.com

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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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