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Young people connect with tech to develop digital skills

Young people connect with tech to develop digital skills
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An innovative new approach to raising awareness of the potential of digital technology has been launched at Girdwood Community Hub (@bfastmet @digiskillsagency @bytesproject)

The Tech Connects programme offers free training to young people living in Belfast to develop digital skills and to raise awareness of ICT career pathways. It will encourage young people to choose relevant subjects and skills that are required to work in the rapidly expanding technology and digital sector in Northern Ireland. The programme is funded through Belfast City Council’s PEACE IV Action Plan.

The training is delivered by Belfast Met, the Bytes Project and DigiSkills, with input from industry experts throughout the programme. Throughout the project young people will learn about using technology for good, internet safety and responsible use of social media and digital technology and also build their problem solving, communication and teamwork skills. They will learn about career opportunities in IT and what life changing further education and training opportunities are available to them.

Participants will also be able to benefit from individual mentoring support in Personal & Social Development as well as Technical Assistance and Employability & Careers advice.

Damian Duffy, Director of Curriculum at Belfast Metropolitan College said:

“We are delighted to be delivering the Tech Connects programme here at Girdwood.   There has been tremendous growth in the IT and Digital sectors in Northern Ireland over the last few years and Tech Connects provides a starting point for young people wanting to explore the potential of technology and the many different opportunities that it opens up for them.

“Equally we’re aiming to reach young people who maybe wouldn’t have considered this area because we know that digital skills will be increasingly in demand across all sectors of the economy and not just those industries traditionally seen as IT. “

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Stephen Dallas Director of The Bytes Project, said:

”There’s a danger that some of our young people will miss out on fulfilling their potential by not developing their digital skills, particularly those young people from our most disadvantaged communities. Programmes like Tech Connects will help to ensure that all of our young people can equip themselves with the tools to navigate this new world and flourish in it.”

Julie McGrath of DigiSkills, said: “We’re excited to be part of this new approach to engaging young people with technology.   Tech Connects will raise awareness and aspirations amongst young people and show them how tech is changing the future of life and work.”

Councillor John Kyle, Chair of the Shared City Partnership said:

“This is such an impressive programme, building both skills and confidence, it opens up a world of new opportunities for the young people involved “

Pictured at Belfast Met’s Girdwood Campus are Councillor John Kyle; Damian Duffy, Director of Curriculum, Belfast Metropolitan College; Julie McGrath, DigiSkills and Thomas McKeown, Bytes Project.

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