Exciting new programme to develop the next generation of digital talent is launched

Up to 200 secondary schools in Greater Manchester will benefit from funding to deliver digital skills to pupils.

GM Digital Skills aims to get young people excited and involved in learning from a young age, along with building long-term connections between education and the digital industry. Digital business experts Manchester Digital and a consortium ‘GoDigital’ made up of the White Room, Hive and InnovateHer, will deliver a series of projects supporting the whole of secondary education and beyond.

The programme is part of the Greater Manchester Digital Strategy which aims to put Greater Manchester in the top 5 European Digital City Regions by 2020.

Cllr Andrew Western, GMCA Lead for Digital City Region said: “This is a really exciting step towards realising our digital aspirations for Greater Manchester. We have the largest digital, creative and tech sector outside of London but it would be nothing without the talent, skills and people working in that industry. We’ve got some great digital organisations in the city region and I’m delighted that Manchester Digital and the GoDigital consortium will be delivering this work on our behalf.”

The programme will also make a significant contribution towards our employment and skills ambitions in Greater Manchester where we hope that young people will leave the education system with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to succeed.

Cllr Sean Fielding, GMCA Lead for Education and skills said: “To be able to dedicate specific funding to developing the digital skills of your young people is a significant step-change in preparing them for the world of work and making them aware of the opportunities in this rapidly growing sector. This is a fantastic opportunity for young people in Greater Manchester and the programme will reach over 10,000 pupils up to 200 schools. This in turn benefits all of us in the city-region and can contribute to us having a thriving economy with the right skills for jobs in the digital sector and opportunities for everyone.”

The Go Digital package to schools includes:

•A digital assembly to spark excitement

•A hands-on one day digital making and marketing session

•Support to set up a Code Club

•Access to the award-winning 8 week InnovateHer programme for 200 year 8 girls designed to improve their skills and confidence and give them access to careers mentoring, led by female role models from industry

•Access to a 3-day Digi Deep Dive programme for boys and girls delivered by Digital Advantage and Hive Learning Network

•A visit to the inspiring Sharp Project

•A final challenge event for all students to celebrate their achievements

Andy Lovatt, Managing Director at The White Room said: “This is a great opportunity to work with some of the best schools in Greater Manchester and with young people at a crucial stage of their development. We’ve teamed up with Hive Learning Networks and InnovateHer to develop a new and exciting approach to digital skills development in the city.

“The Go-Digital programme has been developed specifically for 11-13 year olds with an emphasis on getting girls to look at creative, tech and digital careers choose subjects that will help them get brilliant careers in Greater Manchester’s digital economy. We’re working with other industry partners including Sharp Futures, Code Club and the Co-op to develop a programme that is engaging, effective and fun and that will inspire the next generation of talent to be prepared for the jobs of the future.”

The Digital Futures part of the package will help educators deliver a curriculum that is effective and relevant, and be able to give specialist career insights. Specific industry-led initiatives include:

•Bringing the computer science curriculum to life in the classroom with support from industry experts

•Helping students and career leads gain insights into working in digital careers from people doing those jobs

•Providing inspiring industry experience visits to digital and technology employers for students, teachers and career leads

•GM Digital Day 2020 – an annual celebration day of digital skills for all schools in Greater Manchester

Katie Gallagher, Managing Director at Manchester Digital said: “We are delighted to have secured this opportunity to scale our talent and skills and to be able to showcase the breadth of careers and opportunities that our industry can offer to young people. “Working alongside GMCA we want to ensure that the region has access to a strong, diverse pipeline of talent and this programme will allow us to deliver new and innovative ways of reaching students and helping them understand the different pathways into the sector”

To find out more or sign-up to the programme go to: www.gmdigitalskills.co.uk

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