A scheme which sees computing science teachers paired up with digital technology experts is being rolled out across two new regions.

Students at secondary schools in Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire are to benefit from the ‘Digital Critical Friends’ programme, which has been designed to help address the ever-growing industry skills gap.

The scheme is a partnership between ScotlandIS, DYW (Developing the Young Workforce) Glasgow and 11 participating secondary schools across Inverclyde.

Digital Critical Friends matches teachers with individuals from industry to strengthen the relationship on both sides, share current industry practices and give industry the opportunity to feed into curriculum development.

This news comes after the programme announced it was pairing experts up with the relevant practitioners at 25 schools in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway last week.

Businesses across Scotland that have already signed up to the initiative include PwC, Virgin Money, Amazon, Leidos, Morgan Stanley and Adobe.

Karen Meechan, chief executive of ScotlandIS, said: “We know that a big reason the digital skills gap exists is because of the drop-off rates of school children and young people choosing the subject, or having the opportunity to.

“Our aim is to help rectify this by connecting industry mentors to computer sciences teachers across the region. This will allow us to work more closely with teachers to offer support and provide industry news, highlight where the new technologies are, and help them advocate for more or better funding for their department to encourage young people into the computing and tech subjects.”

Bob Davidson, director and lead official for DYW West Region, said: “This project provides a great opportunity for digital tech businesses across Inverclyde & West Dunbartonshire to influence future skills and talent to meet future economic demand.

“Our goal for this legacy building project is to ensure the curriculum is industry relevant, that teachers are upskilled, and sector savvy and young people have an increased awareness of digital career opportunities through industry influence.”

In 2020, former Skyscanner executive Mark Logan’s Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review concluded that computing science should be treated as a core school subject in the same way as maths and physics.

It found that 13,000 digital tech job opportunities are created every year in Scotland and filling all of them would add £1 billion to Scotland’s economy.

To get involved as a mentor or find out further information, visit the ScotlandIS website or contact nicola.taylor@scotlandis.com