Skills app created for CivTech sees 70% surge in women users
A Scottish app which provides a platform for in-person and online training has seen a surge in interest from women looking to learn or share a skill, with females accounting for 70 per cent of its audience.
SkillSeeder, a one-stop-shop for skill seekers to find courses, workshops or one-to-one training, aims to improve access to learning, especially for those in remote communities.
The app was initially created in response to the CivTech 5 programme, which challenged applicants to use technology to support learning in rural areas. It launched in May after receiving funding from the Scottish Government.
Having since partnered with a range of organisations, including Women’s Enterprise Scotland and Lantra Scotland, the “pioneering” app now boasts over 1,000 courses.
Co-founded by four entrepreneurs, Kerry Cowan, Simon Rigden, David Ritchie and James Ritchie, SkillSeeder offers a range of skills including computing, cookery, horticulture, health, safety, forestry and farming.
Removing barriers to learning, it is of particular benefit to people who lack confidence, have limited English language skills, or live far away from a college. It also enables skills sharers to promote their services and to earn an income.
Users can search by location, and by their preferred learning style such as in-person, online, listening, watching, or reading and writing. They can also view the ratings of the training and decide which course suits them best.
Carolyn Currie, chief executive of Women’s Enterprise Scotland, said: “As champions of female entrepreneurship in Scotland we were delighted to support Kerry and the team and are excited about working with SkillSeeder. We see huge opportunities for women owned businesses to access the skills which will help them grow their businesses and also benefit commercially from offering their own training on the platform.”
“Research shows that if more women, especially those in rural communities, were encouraged to upskill and start their own business, £8.8 billion could be added to the Scottish economy and 230,000 new jobs created. Access to platforms such as SkillSeeder, along with initiatives such as the new online platform we launched last year, are critical in helping women develop the skills they need to reach their full potential.”
Liz Barron-Majerik, director of Lantra Scotland, a Perthshire charity which helps women in the land-based sector access necessary training, said: “Our rural and remote areas face significant challenges in retaining and developing the skills required for robust and resilient economies and never has that been more important. Challenges arising from geography and connectivity can make it hard enough to find appropriate mainstream learning opportunities, let alone the less formal learning.
“We are working with SkillSeeder to help them develop a skills sharing system that encourages people to engage, and those with expertise to share their skills, in rural and remote locations.”
Co-founder of SkillSeeder, Kerry Cowan, said: “We are delighted to be working with Lantra Scotland and will be integrating hundreds more Lantra training courses onto the SkillSeeder app over the next two weeks. We have many skill sharer accounts now registered with us from both professional trainers and informal experts from a variety of sectors. We have also now created a search function on the website so that people can search for courses without having to download the app first.
“We are pleased to be partnered with the Scottish Government and engaging with Lantra Scotland and Women’s Enterprise Scotland to ensure that as many women across Scotland as possible have access to training in a way which works for them.”
The app can be downloaded for free from the Appstore or Google Play.
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