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Additional £150k Digital Xtra funding for under 16s projects

23 September 2016

Scotland’s Digital Xtra Fund is making an additional £150,000 available to support extra-curricular activities for under 16s, focused on computing science and digital skills.

The Digital Xtra Fund launched in May. It is part of wider activity to develop digital skills and make extracurricular computing science activities available to young people, whatever their background and wherever they live in Scotland.

Applications for the new round of funding will open in early October. Eligible organisations will be able to bid for grants from £1,500 to £25,000 per project.

Twelve projects were awarded a total of £250,000 in August. These include the use of wildlife cameras to help pupils learn to code using Raspberry Pi computers, coding taught through local libraries, and a forensic investigation project.

The Digital Xtra Fund has been developed and funded by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership of Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Funding Council, Education Scotland, ScotlandIS, and industry representatives.

The Scottish Government strategy sets out an ambitious plan to make Scotland a world-class digital nation by 2020. More than 84,000 people work in digital technologies roles across the Scottish economy. Skills development will be an integral component in helping young people prepare for the digital future.

Phil Worms, Computing and Schools Project lead at tech industry body ScotlandIS, said:

“At a time when the Scottish digital technologies sector is forecast to grow and there is increasing demand across the economy for staff with high level digital technology skills, it is clear that the talent pipeline in Scotland needs to expand to meet this demand.

“More young people should be encouraged to study computing science related subjects at school, college and university and redressing this balance is crucial to ensure the competitiveness of Scottish companies both within the digital technology sector and beyond.

“The Digital Xtra Fund aims to make a real and lasting impact in the provision of extracurricular computing science related activities for young people aged 16 years and under across the whole of Scotland. Projects that will be considered for grant funding must clearly demonstrate scalability, sustainability and innovation.

“The core objective of the Digital Xtra Fund is to increase the number of young people learning computer science related digital skills in an extracurricular setting. Therefore, projects should show clearly how participants will be involved in digital making and what computer science related skills they will learn.”

Collaborative applications involving different partners and more than one extracurricular initiative will be encouraged as well as projects that foster greater links between industry, young people and the wider community.

The fund is due to open for applications in early October with funding expected to be awarded towards the end of 2016.

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