04 Apr 2018

The Prince’s Trust: #PTDigiDay

Every young person in Scotland should have access to a computing or digital skills activity, regardless of their background, gender, or where they live. Perhaps that is why #PTDigiDay by The Prince’s Trust is so relevant. The Prince’s Trust work with some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged school-age young people through their Achieve Programme, delivered in schools within the most deprived areas in Scotland as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). The Achieve programme is for young people who are experiencing challenges with attendance, attainment, or motivation and may be at risk of exclusion or not attaining the grades they are capable of.


#PTDigiDay Digital Taster & Industry Days

Support from Digital Xtra Fund has allowed The Prince’s Trust to develop an extra-curricular digital project, #PTDigiDay, aimed at young people who are disengaging from school and unlikely to have any knowledge about potential future digital careers. 30 young people, aged 13-16, will be selected from their Achieve Programme in Glasgow to take part in introductory lessons in digital media and coding, delivered by expert delivery partners, youth workers, and young mentors (aged 25 or under) from their corporate partners Dell EMC and NVT Group.

The #PTDigiDay Digital Taster & Industry days are designed to give young people a hands-on experience of working in the digital technologies sector using interactive and engaging practical activities. The first of these days was delivered in The Prince’s Trust Wolfson Centre in February, and further events are scheduled as part of the Trust’s Achieve and ‘Mosaic’ school-based programmes. Young participants have the opportunity to speak directly to employers, apprenticeship providers and colleges, who will also be taking part in the day, with the aim of encouraging young people to consider careers in the digital and information technology sector.

The Prince's Trust #PTDigiDay Split into two sessions, the Taster and Industry days’ aim is to introduce young people to digital technology in fun and creative ways: from creating prototypes for 3D printers, to basic games design, filming and editing in the morning; to learning how to code using micro-bit mini-computers in the afternoon in #generationcode – linking coding to real-world issues, with activity themed around Science and Technology, Health and Wellbeing, Personal and Global Citizenship and Creative Arts.

Over half of Scotland’s young people do not achieve 5 National Fives and those from disadvantaged backgrounds consistently do less well than their peers. There is an unacceptable gap in attainment and achievement between children from our most and least advantaged backgrounds, so this project will prioritise young people who are ‘at risk’ and looking likely to leave school within six months, who are unlikely to attain five National 5s, and those not engaging in any digital and/or information technology classes within their normal school curriculum. #PTDigiDay will break down perceptions of digital skills being a highly technical/mathematical subject, and show young people that careers in this area aren’t out of their reach.

The Prince's Trust #PTDigiDayCath Mitchell, Volunteers Executive and Sean Dimeo, Fundraising Administrator said, “Without support from Digital Xtra Fund, this project would not have been possible. Their backing has allowed us to recruit and further train our talented young mentors, as well as attract digital technology entrepreneurs to deliver stimulating activity sessions. Furthermore, with their support, we have been able to secure a supply of micro:bits for use after the project’s conclusion. This will allow young people to continue to hone their coding skills at their own pace and pass on this knowledge to peers. Thank you to Digital Xtra Fund for their support”


The Prince’s Trust is one of 11 initiatives Digital Xtra Fund is supporting in 2018, which will introduce over 3,200 young people to high-level computing skills. This is made possible by our sponsors and funders who contribute to our goal of giving every young person in Scotland access to a digitally creative activity. Find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future.

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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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14 Mar 2018

Edinburgh International Science Festival: Robo Constructors

Alongside their annual festival, which is celebrating its 30th edition in 2018, Edinburgh International Science Festival also travels across Scotland each year from January to May with their primary schools outreach programme, Generation Science, engaging almost 60,000 children across all of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas. Generation Science inspires young people through a variety of exciting hands-on activities and workshops covering a wide range of STEM subjects from life sciences to digital technologies. It has been running for over 28 years and is the country’s largest and longest-running touring extracurricular STEM education programme.


Robo Constructors

This week’s blog, the 6th of our highlighted 11 initiatives, looks at how support from Digital Xtra Fund means this year’s Generation Science programme offers even more opportunity for young people to learn digital skills with their newest workshop, Robo Constructors. Ten schools in Dumfries and Galloway and South Lanarkshire will receive free workshops, allowing 300 of their pupils to take part in digital technology workshops that they would otherwise not have been able to access.

Robo Constructors WorkshopRobo Constructors is a fun, fast-moving workshop where pupils become mini-robot engineers, exploring open ended challenges to create their own novel, wacky and useful robots! Using Cubelets Robot Blocks, a simple and intuitive modular robotics system, young people will learn about the rules of robotics and logic as well as the steps behind the design process. They will discover how different components can change the behaviour of a robot, learn how different sensors can be used to control a robot’s movement, understand how to troubleshoot the construction of a robot to identify why it might not perform as expected, and use critical thinking, teamwork and problem solving skills to complete challenges.

Support from the Fund brings this workshop to schools which are amongst the most rurally isolated or suffer from the highest rates of deprivation, expanding the geographic reach of digital skills activities across Scotland. By making the workshop playful and fun, led by trained Science Communicators who make links between the workshop’s digital content and devices, companies and brands young people are familiar with, Robo Constructors will spark young people’s interest in computing science and digital technologies, encouraging them to continue studying these at school, and encouraging greater female participation in computing science.

Robo Constructors WorkshopJoan Davidson, Head of Education at Edinburgh International Science Festival, spoke about how Digital Xtra Fund is helping Generation Science to engage and inspire more young people and their teachers, “Generation Science is all about supporting the provision of science education in Scottish primary schools. We do this with a team of incredibly enthusiastic science communicators whose energy and passion for delivering engaging STEM activities inspires young learners and brings technology to life in the classroom. Working with organisations such as Digital Xtra Fund enables us to reach young people across Scotland wherever they may be. With the adoption of digital as part of the definition of STEM in the STEM education and training strategy for Scotland, it is vital that our young learners and their teachers have access to inspiring and engaging activities that not only cut across the curriculum but provide bridges to life outside the classroom and the wider world of work. There are many varied opportunities for our young people to engage and develop their digital skills and we will continue to support the development of this element of young people’s learning.”


Cubelets Robot BlocksGeneration Science is one of 11 initiatives Digital Xtra Fund is supporting in 2018, which will introduce over 3,200 young people to high-level computing skills. This is made possible by our sponsors and funders who contribute to our goal of giving every young person in Scotland access to a digitally creative activity. Find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future.


 #SciFive ticket offer

The 2018 Edinburgh International Science Festival will run from 31 March – 15 April. The programme is now live and is packed full of events for people of all ages. Teachers and students can also access £5 tickets for nearly 80 events in the Science Festival programme, thanks to their #SciFive ticket offer.

 Check out the programme here: https://www.sciencefestival.co.uk/whats-on

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01 Mar 2018

New College Lanarkshire: VEX Robotics Competition

VEX Robotics CompetitionInspiring young people into STEM using robotics, coding, and teamwork is the focus of the VEX Robotics Competition, an extracurricular programme where student teams design, build, and code robots to compete in an exciting global engineering challenge set annually by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation based in Greenville, Texas. The modular robot kits and variable challenges also promote skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and computational thinking while teaching students about the design process.

Leading the charge to grow this global initiative in Scotland is an exciting collaboration between the Faculty of Computing & Creative Industries and the Faculty of Engineering & Automotive at New College Lanarkshire in partnership with VEX Robotics and secondary schools in North Lanarkshire. Digital Xtra Fund is proud to support New College Lanarkshire to help grow this thrilling activity as one of the 11 initiatives funded in 2018.

Hard at workThe study of robotics links to all facets of STEM and New College Lanarkshire have developed an exciting programme that encourages young people to learn through exploration via hands-on, problem-based learning experiences. This year, 38 young people aged 12-16 from Lanarkshire have taken on the challenge of becoming robot designers adopting the roles of computer programmers, CAD designers, engineers, and robot pilots.

Paul McKnight, Head of Operations at VEX Robotics Europe said, “We are hugely appreciative of the support from the Digital Xtra Fund in helping to grow the cluster of schools working with New College Lanarkshire. Each year we see the level of competitiveness grow as the knowledge and understanding of the students increases. Together Digital Xtra Fund and New College Lanarkshire are helping to inspire Scotland’s next generation of STEM leaders.”

In The Zone ChallengeThese young robot-engineers recently got a chance to show off their creations and celebrate their new digital skills at the VEX Robotics Scottish Regional Finals on 2 February at the New College Lanarkshire Motherwell Campus. Teams competed in 2018’s ‘In The Zone’ challenge accumulated points by stacking cones, scoring goals and parking robots. Coding was key to maximising points as the robots also operated autonomously for the first 15 seconds of each round, giving teams the chance to earn even more points. The two highest scoring teams were the Alliance of Koala-T from Braidhurst High School and Jamie and the Generics from Airdrie Academy with each of these teams qualifying to compete in the UK National Championships on 2-3 March in Telford.

2017 Scottish Regional WinnersKoala-T were also winner of the Regional Design Award, judged this year by Digital Xtra Fund. The Design Award is presented to the team that best demonstrates an organised and professional approach to the design process, project and time management, and team organisation. During the robot’s design process teams must maintain an Engineering Notebook, documenting the progression of their robot from initial idea through to final testing. This helps the teams better understand the engineering design process while also practicing a variety of real life skills that will benefit in their academic and professional futures. As well as competing in the UK National Championships, this win also gives Koala-T opportunity to compete for the Design Award at the National level too!

In addition to their Regional Competition and Design Award wins, Koala-T team member Melissa Rodger also recently won The Diana Award for her work with young people engaging and exciting them in engineering, especially young girls. The Diana Award is a legacy to Diana, Princess of Wales’ belief that young people have the power to change the world. Through her love of science, Melissa has devoted her lunchtimes and evenings to lead a robotics club for younger, more vulnerable pupils within her school, creating a fun and welcoming learning environment. Her physics sessions are now so popular that there is a waiting list of pupils who want to join.

Airdrie Academy Power of 5Encouraging more young women to engage in STEM and computing science is a key aim of this initiative overall. Evidence of New College Lanarkshire’s success is apparent simply by the number of young women taking part, but it is exemplified by Power of 5 – the first all-female team from Airdrie Academy who also reached the UK Finals last year and were runner-up for the Design Award at this year’s Regional finals with their robot ‘KJ’. The team named their robot KJ after the iconic NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson, whose computations have influenced every major space program from the Mercury missions through to the Space Shuttle, and who was the focus of 2017 film Hidden Figures, the untold story of female African-American mathematicians working at a segregated NASA during the 1960’s.

VEX Robots in the cornerUnfortunately, disruption across UK train services caused by the “Beast from the East” winter storm  has meant Koala-T and Jamie and the Generics are unable to attend the UK National Championships later this week in Telford. Both teams are understandably disappointed as they would have loved to attend. However, Digital Xtra Fund would still like to congratulate both teams on a job well done at the Scotland event and best of luck in the future. You can follow @NCLANVex on Twitter for the latest updates as well as updates on future tournaments.


Digital Xtra Fund’s annual grant rounds, which support New College Lanarkshire’s VEX Robotics programme and many other inspirational projects, are made possible by the valued support of Scotland’s tech industry, supplying sponsorship, donations and in-kind support that all go towards our goal of giving every young person in Scotland access to a digitally creative activity. Find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future.

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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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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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31 Jan 2018

Inveralmond Community High School: F1 in Schools STEM Challenge

In 2018, Digital Xtra Fund is supporting an exciting programme of 11 high-quality initiatives, which will introduce over 3,200 young people to high-level computing skills. We are highlighting each of these initiatives through a series of blogs; looking at how they inspire, enable and engage young people to be digitally innovative and creative, with a better understanding of the future career opportunities digital skills provide. In the third blog in this series, we are looking at Inveralmond Community High School and their use of the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge to engage young people from around the country.

The F1 in Schools STEM Challenge, with support from the Formula 1 community, is a global not-for-profit initiative that offers young people something truly unique – the opportunity to design and produce a model Formula 1 car that reaches speeds of 20 metres per second, utilising cutting edge digital manufacturing technologies and working alongside instantly recognisable global businesses.

Pupils aged 11-18 work as part of a team to design their own model Formula 1 car, utilising 3D modelling, testing and simulation packages, then operating rapid prototyping equipment to turn their digital concept into a physical model, which they will then race against teams around the country in the hope of making it to the UK finals, followed by the 2018 World Finals held in September. Underpinned by science and mathematical principles, the F1 in Schools Challenge supports the development and application of a broad range of digital skills, including digital creation and production, animation, and coding. Teams must also work together using soft skills such as project management, communication, and marketing to secure team sponsorship and manage budgets to fund their research, travel, and accommodation costs.

F1 in Schools STEM ChallengeInveralmond Community High School is currently Scotland’s only F1 in Schools Centre of Excellence. They offer a range of digital resources which any school from across Scotland can utilise free of charge in order to compete in the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge Scottish Finals, ranging from industry standard CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) machines and resources through to state of the art 3D modelling and printing facilities. Support from Digital Xtra Fund has enabled Inveralmond Community High School to purchase the final piece of their resource jigsaw, an official F1 in Schools race track and timing system. This will allow participants to not only design and build their cars on site, but also test them in an official capacity – greatly improving their chance of success on a UK and global level.

David Dodds, Principal Teacher at Inveralmond Community High School said “The support from Digital Xtra Fund has been fantastic. This new equipment will enable teams to properly test their custom cars in the build up to the Scottish Finals later this month [23 Feb]. Every student involved in the challenge relishes the opportunity to celebrate months of hard work as they race their cars down the new track on competition day in a bid to get to the UK finals in March. The procurement of this state-of-the-art system will add a new dimension to the development and application of digital skills in Scotland”.

The F1 in Schools Scottish Finals will take place at Inveralmond Community High School on 23 February when 20 teams comprised of 120 pupils will travel to Livingston from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Midlothian, and West Lothian to compete in this exciting and unique extracurricular activity while enjoying STEM in action.

This hands-on programme provides a fun way for pupils to challenge themselves and gives them the opportunity to develop key skills which will form the foundation of their future, in whichever career path they choose. Digital Xtra Fund’s support of this programme will have a lasting legacy for F1 in Schools in Scotland, and is made possible thanks to the valued support of Scotland’s tech industry.

F1 in Schools STEM ChallengeAndrew Denford, Founder and Chairman, F1 in Schools said “Scotland has always produced very strong F1 in Schools teams, with ambitious, engaged students who really relish the challenge that F1 in Schools offers them. We haven’t had a World Champion team from Scotland yet, but I’m sure it is only a matter of time, particularly with Inveralmond Community High School now having the luxury of a race track and timing system for the Scottish schools to use for track testing.  We wish all the teams competing at the Scottish Finals the best of luck and we look forward to seeing the winning teams at our National Finals at Silverstone race circuit on 19th and 20th March.”


Thanks to our industry Partners, donations, and in-kind support, Digital Xtra Fund is able to provide annual grant awards to support projects like this, contributing to our goal of giving every young person in Scotland access to a digitally creative activity. Find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future.


F1 Schools STEM Challenge Scottish Event


Interested in seeing the F1 Schools STEM Challenge in action? Looking for an apprentice with hands-on experience to join your team? Join us at Inveralmond Community High School on 23rd February from 10:00 – 14:30.

The event will bring together over 120 students as they compete for a place at the UK Finals. If you fancy a day of digital skills, friendly competition, and fun – please sign up to attend here.




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24 Jan 2018

Apps for Good: Scottish Regions

In our second blog, we highlight how Digital Xtra Fund is supporting Apps for Good to reach more young people in rural Scottish areas. Apps for Good is a charity with a mission to grow a generation of problem-solvers and digital makers who are empowered to improve their world through creating technology. In 2018, Digital Xtra Fund is proud to help expand the presence of this amazing programme in Scotland, giving 225+ young people in Aberdeenshire, Perth & Kinross, Orkney Islands and Highlands the opportunity to access Apps for Good’s product development programme; enabling participants to grow their digital, entrepreneurial and enterprise skills, connect with industry professionals from the Scottish digital sector, and participate in the annual Apps for Good event in Edinburgh.

Apps for Good Tartan Badges Apps for Good train teachers via their CPD programme to deliver inspirational digital courses to their pupils. Scottish pupils aged 12-16 will work together in teams to find issues they care about, then learn how to build, market and launch digital solutions by developing mobile apps and Internet of Things (IoT) products. Previous award-winning Scottish projects include: Midge Forecast, which uses topographical data to forecast midge density, helping predict a common Scottish menace; Teen Health, providing teen-friendly info on sexual health and contraception; Keep Fit Determination, which encourages young people to exercise and earn points in order to keep playing their favourite game consoles; and Safe Step, sensor enabled mats that alert caregivers and family members of the elderly when someone has fallen or gone missing via a mobile app. A key to Apps for Good success is that it places digital training within a real-world context, enabling young people to gain relevant experience, developing the skills and confidence to build digital products to solve problems in their communities and see a clear purpose to their learning.

Apps for Good 2017 Scotland Event With the support of Digital Xtra Fund, participants will also get the opportunity to attend Apps for Good’s annual Edinburgh event, bringing together some of Scotland’s brightest young digital makers and entrepreneurs for a day of networking and skill development workshops. At the event the students will be showcasing their products, participating in workshops to further develop their skills and get feedback from some of Scotland’s top industry experts.

Heather Picov, UK Managing Director, Apps for Good said “Our partnership with Digital Xtra Fund has been fundamental in helping us grow our reach across Scotland enabling us to equip young people with the skills they need for the future. We are delighted to be working with Digital Xtra Fund once again in 2018 to spread the impact of our courses and help even more Scottish young people put their talents and skills towards creating digital products for good.”

Engaging thousands of young people each year, Apps for Good positively impacts young people’s skills development, showing overall improvement in coding, teamwork, problem solving, communication/presentation skills, product design and confidence. Digital Xtra Fund and Apps for Good also share a commitment to improving diversity in digital technologies, increasing the number of girls taking part, and providing more young people in Scotland the opportunity to take part.

Apps for Good is one of 11 high-quality initiatives Digital Xtra Fund is supporting in 2018, which will introduce over 3,200 young people to high-level computing skills. The Fund’s annual grant awards, which are supporting Apps for Good for a second year, are made possible by the valued support of Scotland’s tech industry, supplying sponsorship, donations and in-kind support that all go towards our goal of giving every young person in Scotland access to a digitally creative activity. Find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future.


Apps for Good Scottish Event


Do you work in the tech industry and want to join Apps for Good on 23rd February to celebrate Scotland’s young entrepreneurs?

This event will bring together the next generation of digital talent in Scotland as over 100 students come together under one roof at the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh for a day of idea sharing, networking and workshops. Sign up to attend here

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16 Jan 2018

Stirling High School: Digital Learning Hub

In 2018, Digital Xtra Fund will be introducing over 3,200 young people to digital technologies by supporting 11 high-quality initiatives across Scotland. Over the next few months we will highlight each of these initiatives through a series of blogs as they inspire, enable, and engage young people to be digitally innovative and creative, and give them a better understanding of the future career opportunities digital skills provide.

Stirling High SchoolThe first initiative we will look at is Stirling High School’s (SHS) new Digital Learning Hub, which launched this week at CodeBase Stirling and will involve pupils from SHS as well as six of their feeder primary schools. The Hub will help inspire pupils from P6-S2 through extracurricular coding workshops; engaging more girls in computing science and giving young people, regardless of background or where they live, a chance to take part.

The Digital Learning Hub aims to build a sustainable ecosystem of young computing science developers. 30 pupils six Stirling primary schools will complete 10 workshops using Raspberry Pi development kits: setting up a computer; coding in Scratch and Python; using sensors, LEDs and autonomous vehicles; and getting the chance to be creative and explore their own ideas. Workshops will be run by experienced Computing teachers, supported by pupils from SHS and primary teachers, and run in partnership with CodeBase Stirling, who are providing a collaborative space for young people to learn to code in a live industry environment, and meet and learn from CodeBase’s tenants and partners.

Once the initial round of workshops are completed, the 30 participants will be recognised as Digital Champions within their own primary schools and will go on to deliver the Hub’s 10 workshops to their peers, again with the support of pupils and educators from Stirling High School. Overall, up to 210 young people will take part in the Digital Learning Hub, giving them an exciting early introduction to coding, hands-on activities, and peer-to-peer learning that will build confidence and leadership skills.

Stirling High Schools Paul Cassidy, HT Stirling High said “This project is an excellent example of how we are preparing our young people for their future through developing a range of skills including teamwork, collaboration and digital skills. Our Digital Champions in S1 and S2 are developing their leadership skills by supporting the young people from our primary schools as part of the project. The learning community is excited to be working with CodeBase Stirling and we are grateful for the support from the Digital Xtra Fund and Sharp.”

Digital Xtra Fund’s commitment to inspire future talent is backed by a range of partners who understand the importance of empowering young people to understand and create with technology, not just consume it. Support for SHS’ Digital Learning Hub has been generously provided by Sharp as part of their biennial Inspire Expo, taking place in Edinburgh from 15-17 January 2018. Sharp has been inventing one-of-a-kind products and solutions that benefit society and business for more than 100 years and their support of Digital Xtra Fund is greatly valued in benefiting Scotland’s next generation of digital makers.

In addition to supporting Digital Xtra Fund, Sharp has also kindly donated a BIG PAD interactive display to Stirling High School, giving participants an innovative way to present their ideas to their peers as well as brainstorm and collaborate on their projects. The BIG PAD will also be used in day-to-day teaching at Stirling High School, benefiting all SHS pupils with the use of Sharp’s latest technology.

Jason Cort, Director of Product Planning and Marketing, Sharp Europe said: “The future’s not only about technology, it’s also about the young people who will be using that technology. That’s why we decided to support Digital Xtra Fund this year as part of our Inspire Expo event. 2018 being Scotland’s Year of Young People makes this even more poignant.  Sharp has a portfolio of interactive solutions, including BIG PAD, that are dedicated to helping students get better education outcomes. BIG PAD will let Stirling High School’s teachers and students share information in exciting new ways and crucially, it is very easy to use, so these benefits will be accessible to everyone.”

Digital Xtra Fund’s annual grant rounds, which support SHS’ Digital Learning Hub and many other inspirational projects, are made possible by the valued support of Scotland’s tech industry, supplying sponsorship, donations and in-kind support that all go towards our goal of giving every young person in Scotland access to a digitally creative activity. Find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future.

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