Digital Xtra fund providing £150k of funding

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.

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.

Becoming a digital nation by 2020

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.

Digital Xtra encouraging collaboration

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.”

“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. Eligible organisations will be able to bid for grants from £1,500 to £25,000 per project.