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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14 Jun 2018

Angus Young Engineers: The CAD/CAM Café

Angus Young EngineersAngus Young Engineers (AYE) are an afterschool engineering education based charity, dedicated to steering young people into education and careers involving STEM. This year, with support from Digital Xtra Fund, AYE are building on the successful projects they have delivered since 2003, with the launch of The CAD/CAM Café, a programme to facilitate peer-to-peer learning at Forfar Academy and primary schools in the catchment area.

Taking advantage of Angus Secondary schools’ timetables, which gives all secondary school pupils Friday afternoon off, The CAD/CAM Café is a digital-skills employability project that works on two levels to inspire young people into the digital world of work, and to fill local skills gaps in digital manufacture.

The CAD/CAM Café

Angus Young EngineersThis year a group of 20 pupils aged 12-16 from Forfar Community campus will get the chance to take part in a programme of workshops on 3D Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing, 3D Scanning, and Digital Manufacturing using 3D printers and 2D laser cutters. Working in groups of four, the young participants will take on role play jobs that reflect the local industry. Supported by AYE’s industry mentors and STEM ambassadors, pupils will gain valuable employability skills as they progress through the 20 week programme – working towards certificates of Digital Manufacturing Confidence, with bronze awarded after 10 weeks, silver after 20 weeks of the programme, and the opportunity to achieve a gold award by acting as mentors and tutors to a local primary school.

DronesThe second aspect of The CAD/CAM Café will see the 20 pupils from AYE introduce 230 P6 pupils in 3 urban and 5 rural primary schools to a 3D scanning and printing activity that the Café participants have been developing. Primary school pupils will work in groups to scan their peers’ heads to make 3D portraits, be introduced to 3D CAD, navigate Thingi-verse and 3D print an object to complete a design task to make a drone flight-ready. As with the Secondary school programme, pupils will have the opportunity to roleplay exciting real-life situations from the digital tech sector like designing and testing drones on missions to deliver antidotes to remote locations. Each group will work with a secondary school mentor who is working towards their Gold Digital Manufacturing Confidence certificate, with support from other Senior Young Engineers Leaders and the schools’ primary school transition programmes.

As with many of the Fund’s supported projects, AYE are committed to inspiring girls into STEM, with a particular focus on promoting this project to girls. Woman AYE coaches act as positive role models to young female participants, and AYE have also established a link with Girl Guiding in Forfar, running regular taster sessions to attract girls into STEM-based activities after school.

Bob Baldie, Chairman of AYE, said, “The grant from Digital Xtra Fund has given Angus Young Engineers the ability to engage and inspire more young people across Angus through digital skills-based activities. These activities enhance their employability chances while giving insight into future STEM careers, especially in the increasingly important area of digital manufacturing.”

Angus Young EngineersAYE’s CAD/CAM Café 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 the Fund’s partners, sponsors and funders. To help us continue this work in 2018/19, find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future here.

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