CityFibre partners with Scotland’s Xtra Fund to tackle digital skills gap

fundCityFibre, which has created gigabit networks in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Stirling, is partnering with Digital Xtra Fund as part of a commitment to help young people across the country.

The partnership will see CityFibre lend financial support, allowing the fund to boost extra-curricular digital technology activities across Scotland. These include Stirling High School’s Digital Learning Hub in partnership with CodeBase Stirling, The Prince’s Trust’s #PTDigiDay in Glasgow as part of its Achieve Programme, and the Angus Young Engineers’ CAD/CAM Café.

Launched in 2016 by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership, a collaboration of public and private sector organisations, Digital Xtra Fund became an independent charity in March 2017. The Fund aims to ensure that young people have the opportunity to develop the skills required to thrive in the digital age regardless of their gender, background, or where they live.

CityFibre has already connected a number of schools across Scotland to its full fibre networks. It said the infrastructure is laying the foundation for young people to use cutting-edge digital tools and unlock e-learning initiatives such as coding and app-building.

“The Digital Xtra Fund is playing a key role in helping young people learn the skills they will need to succeed in a digital future,” said James McClafferty, head of regional development  at CityFibre. “It is crucial that they are supported by industry, which is why CityFibre is delighted to come on board as a key partner.

“The full fibre networks we are building across Scotland and the rest of the UK will be vital in helping to unlock the digital potential our young people have, and ensure they are not held back by our current infrastructure.

“As digital connectivity becomes more and more essential, we have to ensure our young people are capable of making the most of its potential. We look forward to working with Digital Xtra Fund and to identifying projects to support across Scotland.”

In addition to schools, CityFibre’s ultrafast networks are also accelerating the digital capabilities of businesses, local councils, libraries and community centres and the company said it was is determined to “help ensure Scotland becomes one of the world’s best connected places”.

CityFibre embarks is working with with Vodafone cities ‘fibre to the premises’ programme which will bring gigabit-capable full-fibre to one million homes and businesses across the UK by 2021, with Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Stirling among the first cities announced.

It is estimated that in the four cities in Scotland where CityFibre is operational – Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling – the programme will be worth £458m over the next 15 years through additional productivity and innovation.

Kraig Brown, partnerships and development manager at the fund, said: “It is a very exciting time to partner with CityFibre as they begin to transform the digital landscape of the UK and bring gigabit speed connectivity to entire communities.

“The high-quality initiatives supported by Digital Xtra Fund will spark that first interest in digital technologies and equip young people with the skills and experiences they need to succeed in a digital age, but it is organisations like CityFibre who will help fuel long-term possibilities for the next generation.

“Key to a strong digital future is an environment where businesses big and small can develop and grow uninhibited by aging technology and infrastructure. Unlimited bandwidth has the potential to change the digital landscape for today’s young people as much as email and mobile phones did for my generation.”