Vodafone Foundation has launched the ‘Digital Creators’ Challenge’, a new digital skills competition for secondary schools across the UK*. The programme, which is open to 11-14 year olds, aims to improve young people’s understanding of tech and how it can be used to help the communities in which they live. It will also look to build their digital skills and encourage them to explore a future career in technology.
The challenge, presented in partnership with Teach First, Hopscotch and Apps for Good, will run between September 2019 and January 2020. It will invite young people to work together to design an app to improve lives in their local community, with the chance to win up to £6,000 to spend on IT equipment. Tech advice and practical training will be provided by Vodafone and Apps for Good experts, alongside access to online materials including workbooks and toolkits. In addition, selected schools in government identified Opportunity Areas will be invited to participate in one of ten app development days to help them progress their ideas. In March 2020, shortlisted finalists will be invited to Vodafone’s Technology Hub in Newbury, where they will get to see first-hand how a leading tech company works and showcase their final entries to a panel of tech experts.
Helen Lamprell, Trustee of the Vodafone Foundation and General Counsel and External Affairs Director for Vodafone UK said: “A recent report found only 2.7% of students** chose computing or computer science qualifications at A-Level in the UK. This suggests a digital skills gap in the younger generation – the future workforce for our digital age. Research also shows that girls are under-represented in this area. The Digital Creators’ Challenge aims to close this gap, by building students’ digital skills; raising awareness of the digital careers available at Vodafone and the wider industry; and increasing diversity across technology.”
Previous workshops hosted by partner Apps for Good have shown that after taking part, 53% of students were more interested in specialising in computing and IT during school and further studies, and half of students were more interested in working in the tech sector in the future. Furthermore, 68% of students improved their problem solving skills, 80% of students improved their product design skills and 70% of students improved their confidence.
Schools and community groups are invited to register their interest from today at https://careers.vodafone.co.uk/the-digital-creators-challenge. The programme will run between September 2019 and January 2020, with the winning submission announced in March 2020.
For more information please contact:
Vodafone UK Media Relations
T: 01635 693 693
Notes to Editors:
* excluding Northern Ireland
** BSC Report 2018
About Vodafone Foundation
Vodafone Foundation supports projects that are focused on delivering public benefit through the application of technology across the areas of health, education and disaster relief. A UK registered charity (1089625), it invests in the communities where Vodafone operates and is at the centre of a network of global and local social investment programmes.
About Apps for Good
Apps for Good is a tech education charity, with a mission to grow the next generation of problem-solvers and digital entrepreneurs. Apps for Good partners with schools and colleges across the UK and provides free online CPD training to upskill educators to deliver their programmes to students aged 10–18. Through their courses young people are challenged to come up with any problem or issue they are passionate about and learn how to solve it through building a digital product (including apps, Internet of Things solutions and machine learning models). Through the Apps for Good programme students learn not just vital technical skills but also the enterprise and employability skills to design, market and pitch their products solving real-world problems.
Apps for Good has impacted over 150,000 young people in 1,500 schools and colleges across the UK since their foundation in 2010. They are an organisation committed to improving diversity within the tech sector, engaging schools within deprived and challenging contexts and enthusing girls to pursue a pathway in computing; in 2018-19 over 50% of students participating in an Apps for Good programme were female and 67% were from challenging communities.
About Hopscotch Consulting
Hopscotch is the leading specialist consultancy for original, insightful and imaginative education communications programmes. We create award-winning social purpose, marketing and education campaigns that reach, engage and inspire young people and their families. We deliver social impact, behaviour change, and educational excellence, as well as transforming the lives of young people. We work with organisations such as the Department for Education, John Lewis & Partners, Siemens, Transport for London, Kellogg’s and RNLI.
About Teach First
Teach First is a charity with the vision that no child’s educational success is limited by their background.
Alongside universities, schools and businesses, Teach First seeks, develops and supports teachers and leaders to make a difference where they are needed the most.
Teach First has placed more than 10,000 teachers in disadvantaged areas, who have supported more than one million children so far.
Teach First currently operates in Wales and in all regions across England: London, West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire the Humber, North West, North East, South East, South Coat, South West and the East of England.
Trainees commit to a minimum of two years at their partner school, where they teach a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) timetable; and around half stay on for a third year. More than half of all the teachers who’ve completed training since 2003 are currently teaching.
Their two year Initial Teacher Training starts with the unique five-week Summer Institute which provides trainees with intensive preparation for teaching in their school. Trainees then complete both their PGDE training year and their first year as an NQT in their school.