Supporting the younger generation

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Description

This project's goal is to champion and reward digitally savvy young people (aged 13 - 25 years) for taking their digital skills out of the bedroom and into the community. We want to encourage more young people to volunteer their time for the benefit of others, but at the same time gain valuable employability skills through their experience of teaching other youngsters to learn about various aspects of technology.

The project is based in South East Wales, with a particular focus on the Valleys where educational attainment is low, and a large proportion of people possess few or no qualifications. Unemployment rates are also higher here than the UK national average. Meanwhile, there is a severe skills gap in the technology industry both in Wales and across the UK. Inspiring young people to both attend and volunteer at digital clubs is seen as a key stepping stone to inspiring them to a career in the digital industry but also helping them improve their likelihood of employment in this thriving industry.

The target for the project is young people who are already volunteering or could be encouraged to volunteer their digital skills in after school clubs, libraries, weekend and holiday clubs and other digital events in the community.

We already have 7 young people volunteering their techy skills in local coding clubs and digital events, and we aim to recruit and reward a minimum of 25 young volunteers over the next 12 months. Recruiting more volunteers is directly related to the number of clubs we can run and will allow us to expand from 4 to over 10 digital clubs.

We think that our volunteers deserve recognition for their volunteering and digital learning, and this project will allows us to achieve this in three ways:
1. We want to create a website for the digital volunteers, to not only help attract new recruits but also to provide ongoing support for the community of volunteers. Crucially, we want young digital volunteers to be part of the project team building the website, giving them experience of designing a website and working with a digital agency which will give them a great insight into some of roles available to them if they exploit their digital skills. It will be designed by young people, for young people and will enable them to be part of this expanding community.
2. We want to reward our digital volunteers by developing a series of open badges using Mozilla, an online standard of badges recognised globally. These badges will credit the hours of volunteering completed. These badges are becoming increasingly recognised by the technology industry, demonstrating experience outside the classroom.
3. We also want to build a rewards system for volunteers by working with local businesses. For example, the young people would earn time credits in return for their volunteering hours and these could be 'cashed in' at local organisations such as their local leisure centre.

The organisation facilitating digital volunteering opportunities is a Community Interest Company based in Torfaen called The Digital Volunteers. We are already supporting a cluster of after-school coding clubs in Torfaen and Monmouthshire, and are planning to help set up clubs in Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Newport. Our service is to recruit volunteers who teach digital skills in the clubs, and working with STEMnet we provide appropriate induction training and ongoing support. Whilst we also encourage adult volunteers from the business world to help run the digital clubs, our key goal is to grow and support the younger generation through the opportunities that volunteering can offer.

The funding will be used to set up the website and the rewards systems within a 3 month period. The recognition and rewards systems will help us to reach our goal of 25 young volunteers within 12 months enabling us to have more than 10 clubs up and running. Through these clubs we believe we can have a positive impact on many more young people.

The Digital Volunteers CIC

Location: Torfaen, United Kingdom

"My boys have managed to bond due to the fact that they both love coming to your Coding Club. They voluntarily attend the club together, without parental support (something that they haven't done previously), and the shared interest has resulted in quality time spent between the boys at home."
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