Linlithgow-based Digital Xtra Fund invites applications to catalyse digital skills of young Scots

Linlithgow-based charity Digital Xtra Fund has invited applications for initiatives to drive digital skills for young people across Scotland in 2022/23 – with major names such as Baillie Gifford, JP Morgan, and Accenture again providing backing.

The Fund was launched in 2016, and has since awarded £725,000 to digital skills initiatives, helping schools and organisations engage nearly 45,000 young people.

Last year, it worked with government and industry partners on 22 initiatives for those aged 16 and under. These included coding clubs at four schools in Angus, a Games for Good programme at Heart of Midlothian FC’s Innovation Centre in Edinburgh, and a COP26-related collaboration around climate tech with the Scottish Council for Development and Industry’s Young Engineers and Science Clubs.

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A pupil enjoying a Digital Xtra Fund-supported all-girl, science, technology, engineering and mathematics and robotics club in Angus. Picture: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media.

Organisations such as Chroma Ventures (the investment arm of Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns of Dundee games developer 4J Studios), Cirrus Logic, Incremental Group, and ScotlandIS, which bolsters the digital technology ecosystem, have all committed to supporting Digital Xtra Fund again in 2022/23, and the charity plans to announce further financial supporters over the next few weeks.

Kraig Brown, Digital Xtra Fund’s partnerships and development manager, said: “We are currently lining up this year’s funding from both the public and private sectors, which will allow us to deliver even more this year and next.

“Our mission is for every young person in Scotland to have access to inspiring and meaningful digital tech activities, regardless of their gender, background, or where they live. Everyone realises that digital skills are absolutely integral to the success of our future economy – and to the future success of our young people too – but at the same time, commentators agree that the state of computing science in our schools is behind the curve to achieve these successes.

“It is also no longer enough to just teach young people how to use technology, we need to show them how it can be applied to real life – particularly in areas such as climate tech or health tech where it can make such a positive impact… we are talking about a fundamental change to the education and skills landscape for young people – of course it will be challenging. But it has to happen – and Digital Xtra Fund is at the forefront of that change.”

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