Skills Development Scotland is exhibiting at Digital Scotland 2020 to promote digital apprenticeships while also asking public sector technologists to step up and help the nation’s school children.

Before the pandemic struck, SDS was piloting a new initiative called “Tech Industry in the Classroom”. This involved teachers and industry leaders working together to create and deliver an experience which was as close to being in work as possible.

However, like so many other initiatives, they’ve had to look at delivering this new approach online rather than in the classroom. So the organisation has developed a best practice guide to engaging virtually with schools, pupils and teachers for non-professional educators.

They are now looking for volunteers from the public sector, as well as the tech sector more generally, to join the Industry in the Classroom project to persuade pupils about the value of developing digital skills for their future careers.

Claire Gillespie, SDS’ digital technology skills manager said: “I think the employers that took part in our pilot project got as much out of it as the kids did. Taking part and working with teachers to create lesson plans that really motivate the pupils is so rewarding. Not only are you giving something back to our young people, but you get a real opportunity to shape and mould the skills that can help with your future recruitment needs.”

In addition to looking for volunteers to deliver the programme ins schools, Claire also wanted to use Digital Scotland 2020 to reinforce the importance of apprenticeships to the public sector, but in particular the opportunity offered up by digital apprentices.

From data analysts to cyber security specialists, and from digital marketing to software development, Claire believes there is an apprenticeship available to plug any digital skills gap you may have.

“With apprenticeships, you get financial help to bring in passionate and motivated talent that can bring fresh eyes and energy to your organisation,” enthused Claire. “Because they hit the ground running, they can have a positive impact very quickly because they put into practice what they learn from the get-go.

“And apprenticeships are not just for new starts. Work-based learning can also be used for upskilling and reskilling existing staff. So, if jobs are changing then a digital apprenticeship can help someone move from one role to another while allowing you to keep the wider knowledge and experience that person has of your organisation.”

Visit the SDS stand during Digital Scotland 2020 to find out more about the “Industry in the Classroom” initiative and about taking on apprentices. Visit Digital World to find out more about digital careers and skills, and to find out more about apprenticeships post event.