Mobilising Scotland’s tech talent to join the fight

The Scottish Tech Army initiative, designed to match Scottish tech professionals currently furloughed or unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic with COVID-19 projects, is being rolled out in Scotland.

Instead, they can now use their skills and experience to support public sector organisations in developing digital projects to help tackle the outbreak and the management of the recovery process.

CivTech, the Scottish Government programme that uses digital technology to allow easier access to public services, is leading the project to ifind COVID-19 related projects that require help.

The Scottish Tech Army then works with recruitment agents and senior figures from within the digital community to find volunteers with the right skills to solve those problems.

Hundreds of companies and organisations have already offered their support to the Scottish Government in the form of products and services they are willing to provide on a pro-bono basis.

Kate Forbes, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance said: “Our tech community can really support the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know how much talent and skill exists within the tech community and this welcome initiative gives volunteers the chance to play a valuable role while continuing to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”

Alistair Forbes, co-founder of The Scottish Tech Army project, commented: “Public and private sector workers – from health and social care staff through to food supply chain and logistics workers – are out there risking their lives to battle this pandemic and the Scottish Tech Army gives our digital community the chance to demonstrate that we’ve got their backs.

“Data and digital technologies are key weapons in the fight against the coronavirus and we’ll be able to rapidly deploy the resources and skills needed to tackle the outbreak and support the people who are being affected.

“We see the opportunity to deliver three-way benefits – providing support to the people and organisations on the front line, delivering meaningful impact in the communities around Scotland and giving the volunteers a sense of purpose and achievement in what are very challenging times for them.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime challenge and I’m confident the Scottish tech community will rise to it.