Scottish schools launch skills gap mentoring programme

Secondary schools in the south of Scotland have announced a digital mentoring programme that matches students with industry experts

A new programme, ‘Digital Critical Friends’, has been launched to bridge the digital skills gap by partnering secondary schools in the south of Scotland with leading digital technology experts. 

The initiative is a partnership between ScotlandIS, Skills Development Scotland, DYQ Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, with 25 secondary schools across the region. 

The programme matches teachers with industry professionals to strengthen the relationship on both sides, share current industry practices and feed into curriculum development. 

Schools will benefit from direct support from practitioners and companies in the industry to develop students’ interest and abilities in a bid to meet the rapidly growing and changing skills requirements of the digital sector. 

Creating a thriving digital sector is critical to future growth in the South of Scotland. This programme provides a great opportunity for digital tech businesses to influence future skills and talent to meet future economic demand in the area. Our goal is to ensure the curriculum is industry relevant, that teachers are upskilled and sector savvy, and young people have an increased awareness of digital career opportunities – Phil Ford, head of digital technologies and financial services for Skills Development Scotland 

Businesses that have already signed up include PwC, Virgin Money, Amazon, Leidos, Morgan Stanley, and Adobe. 

Karen Meechan, CEO of ScotlandIS, said: “We know that a big reason the digital skills gap exists is because of the drop-off rates of school children and young people choosing the subject, or having the opportunity to. 

“Our aim is to help rectify this by connecting industry mentors to computer sciences teachers across the South of Scotland. This will allow us to work more closely with teachers to offer support and provide industry news, highlight where the new technologies are, and help them advocate for more or better funding for their department to encourage young people into the computing and tech subjects.” 

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