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Last chance to enter The Why Not? Trust’s digital showcase

Posted 18.10.23 by Alice Hinds

The Why Not? Trust is seeking artwork from parents with care experience, which will be shared through a “digital showcase” on social media.

From poems and paintings to videos, scripts, TikToks, sculptures and photographs, all mediums are welcome, but each artwork must explore the issues, questions, themes and emotions that surround what it is like to become a parent as an individual with care experience.

Entries, which can remain anonymous, will be shared on The Why Not? Trust’s social media platforms throughout Care Experienced Week, which takes place from 22-29 October 2023, and the Trust will also create a dedicated space for artwork submissions on its online hub.

Promoting the importance of relationships across the care-experienced community, The Why Not? Trust says the digital showcase will connect entrants with changemakers, highlighting their messages in their own words.

Submissions made by Thursday 19 October will be entered into a draw to win one of two £25 gift vouchers, and while entries made after this date won’t be considered for the prize, they may still be shared with The Why Not? Trust’s online audience.

For more information and to submit artwork, click here for the entry form

 Alternatively, entrants can contact Aimee:

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Funding available for digital devices to support learning programmes across Scotland

Posted 21.08.23 by Alice Hinds

Community-based organisations can apply for a grant of up to £15,000 to purchase digital devices

Provided by the Scottish Government and managed by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), applications are now open for funding to purchase essential digital devices.

Open to all community-based voluntary organisations in Scotland, the Community Learning and Development Device Fund provides capital funding to purchase items such as laptops, cameras, tablets and monitors for use in learning programmes, including staff-delivered group sessions and lending libraries.

Social enterprises, voluntary organisations and registered charities, which have been delivering community learning and development services for at least one year, can apply for up to £15,000 to support every demographic; children and young people, women and girls, and those within economically or socially disadvantaged communities.

Open from 21 August 2023, applications close on 29 September and decisions on funding will be made by 16 October. Successful applicants will then receive grants by 3 November, and any funding must be spent by the end of March 2024.

For more information and to apply, click here to visit the Grantmaking website:

A computer screen with a coding programme open. In front of that is a laptop, with a woman's hand and arm in shot, pointing at something on its screen

News: Pupils encouraged to learn digital technologies with new funding

Posted 8 February, 2023 by Nina Joynson

Applications are open for a digital fund that supports tech initiatives which enhance the development of young people's digital skills.

Now in its eighth year, the Digital Xtra Fund has opened applications for schools and organisations looking to access funding towards extracurricular digital skills education.

Improving digital skills

Launched in 2016, the fund has so far secured almost £1 million to deliver coding and tech clubs and initiatives across Scotland.

The fund was established to increase the number of young people who study tech-related disciplines and further tech careers by encouraging Scottish pupils to learn digital and computing skills.

In the 2022/23 round, the Digital Xtra Fund is supporting 45 initiatives across 24 local authorities, and projects that more than 7,400 young people will be engaged, including a 50% take-up by girls and young women.

Rebecca Court, Head of Marketing at Incremental Group (one of the fund's industry backers) said:

“The Digital Xtra Fund undertakes such important work across Scotland. The team’s commitment to addressing the alarming digital skills gap while also focusing on increasing diversity and inclusivity in the tech sector, a sector where women continue to be underrepresented, is key to everyone’s future success. 

It is vital the corporate sector and government recognise that when we support grassroots initiatives, especially for young people, it is a win-win for communities, industry, and Scotland as a whole.”

Industry support

The fund receives support from donations, sponsorship and grants, and distributes these funds to eligible organisations that advance the use of digital and computing science education in Scotland.

It is currently in negotiations with several companies to increase the level of funding awarded. The Scottish Government has also pledged to match industry support.

The cost of living crisis and economic downturn has put a strain on charities and organisations that support the Fund, and now Kraig Brown, the Fund's Parternship and Development Manager, has called for new partners to invest, especially those in the corporate sector.

Currently, Baillie Gifford, J.P. Morgan, Accenture, ScotlandIS, Skyscanner, and Incremental Group are on board as industry sponsors, amongst others.

Click here to learn more about applying for the 2023-24 grant

A person working on a laptop, their hair is concealing their face. A phone is on the desk next to them
Young person working on laptop

News: Computing Science gets a boost in Scottish schools

Posted 9 February 2022, by Nina Joynson

Computing Science in schools will benefit from government funding and a new industry mentoring scheme, following reports that the subject needs to be revived for success.

The Scottish Government has announced a £1.3 million investment in digital technology resources in response to an independent review that highlighted weaknesses in how schools handle computing science.

Every state sector school will be offered support to revive the subject, while secondary schools are invited to bid for grants up to £3,000 to invest in additional equipment, software and teaching resources.

Announced earlier this week, opposition MSPs have reacted critically to the funding, arguing that the amount falls short.

Michael Marra MSP, Education Spokesperson for Scottish Labour said:

“This does not amount to even a sticking plaster for the massive cut in education resources that will only see the crisis in computing science and digital skills under this government increase.”

Computing science on the curriculum

The funding comes after teaching groups and individuals emphasised the need for better computing science education, with shortcomings seen in the curriculum currently and reflected in the workforce.

In 2020, the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review found that 13,000 digital tech jobs are created in Scotland every year, bringing £1 billion to the economy. They assessed approximately 5,000 of these jobs are filled by Scots, appointed after university or using apprenticeship schemes.

The review concluded that change needed to start in school to enthuse young people about these subjects and the career opportunities in the computing and tech sector. They advise recognising Computing Science as a core subject taught from S1.

However, a shortage of teaching staff means many schools no longer offer the subject, with figures suggesting a Scottish ‘computing science crisis’:

  • The number of teachers specialising in computing science dropped by 22% between 2008 and 2020
  • The number of pupils studying the subject dropped by 65% between 2001 and 2020
  • Only 17% of Highers in the subject were awarded to girls in 2021, highlighting a stark gender disparity gap.

Supporting the future workforce

Encouragingly, change is already visible with a 7% increase in the overall number completing a Computing Science Higher in 2021.

The continued interest and engagement with computing science is being supported through the rollout of a new scheme, alongside the additional funding.

Working in partnership with ScotlandIS, DYW Glasgow and Skills Development Scotland, the Digital Critical Friends programme pairs computing science teachers with industry experts. It aims to address the digital skills gap by sharing industry practices and feeding relevant knowledge into the curriculum.

The programme currently only operates in Glasgow, with recruitment of industry mentors happening in four newly announced areas: Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and the Scottish Borders.

Phil Ford, Head of Digital Technologies at Skills Development Scotland, said:

“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.”

To learn more about the scheme, click here to visit the ScotlandIS website.