An exciting new programme to support young people from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds to access digital opportunities, has been launched by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.
The programme has received a financial boost with support from global advertising technology leader, The Trade Desk, which also hosted a launch event in London.
The My Digital Future programme aims to tackle digital inequality by providing one-to-one support, resources and bursary-funded training to young people who wish to pursue a career in technology.
My Digital Future aims to tackle barriers to entry and progression by providing young people in need of career guidance and support with access to a dedicated coach. Experts will be drawn from BCS members and supporting partners like The Trade Desk.
Inspiring and empowering young people
The programme seeks to engage students aged 16 to 24 from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, as well as encourage young women in computer science. BCS 2022 Diversity Report has shown that only 22% of IT specialists in the UK workforce are female. Participants will be paired with a coach who will be a source of counsel and inspiration to empower young people who wish to pursue digital careers.
Julia Adamson, Director of Education at BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, said:
“We know that access to education and training can be influenced by an individual’s social and economic circumstances, and that’s as true for digital skills too. There is also evidence of barriers to acquiring digital skills among girls and young women, particular ethnic groups, or people with disabilities. There is a need to challenge and improve the diversity of those accessing and benefitting from excellent digital skills education and training.”
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The My Digital Future programme is now running in London, where it is supported by BCS’ EMBRACE specialist group, which focusses on tackling barriers to entry and progression within the IT industry which result from race and ethnicity.
Programmes will also run in Birmingham and South Wales and the aim is to expand My Digital Future across the UK with the support of members, partners and donors.
Nzube Ufodike from EMBRACE said: “I am blown away by the financial and non-financial contributions from The Trade Desk. Their support has given our launch a significant boost. The difference such a programme can make in a young person's life is material. At EMBRACE, we look forward to this partnership as well as future programmes that increase access to very promising careers in digital.”
BCS is urging its members to support ‘My Digital Future’ by raising funds to enable bursary support, critical programmes and resources such as networking events, training courses, books, and equipment.