Young people benefit from collaborative education scheme aimed at improving digital skills

Brixton students have praised a collaborative scheme which strives to close the digital skills gap in the younger generation.

Now in its second year, the Nominet Digital Neighbourhood programme teamed up with Brixton based creative network Livity to facilitate three days of digital skills training for young people between the ages of 18 and 24.

Covering skills such as data analysis, Google Adwords, SEO and optimising social media presence, the course aims to increase digital awareness in local communities.

Upon completing the training, students are paired with a local small business in a paid placement over the course of two weeks and encouraged to utilise their skills in a working environment.

Sixth Form student Aeshya Alohan-Eke, who participated in the scheme, believes there is a gap in the education system that needs to be filled.

She said: “We are not taught about the stuff we’ll do in work and that’s across the board. Coming to a workshop like this is really useful for me.

“At least I know I’m using these skills for something important and I might even get some work experience out of it”.

In light of recent figures that show 26% of 18-24 year olds struggle to find work experience, the programme’s mission is twofold; support the potential of digital savvy young people and their transition into the work place whilst helping small businesses tap into the world of online marketing and reducing the digital skills gap.

Aishat Ola-Said, senior talent manager at Livity, attributes the growing gap to a lack of digital focus in the generic education system.

She said: “I don’t think the curriculum has caught up with the pace of digital. The training that is available in schools and colleges doesn’t reflect the skills students need when they join the work force”.

The motivation for joining the scheme varied throughout the group, with some students wanting to expand their transferrable skills as a means to gaining work experience and others striving to prepare for their own entrepreneurial ventures.

Melissa Legarda joined the programme to develop her digital skills prior to launching her own online brand in the upcoming months.

She said: “It gives you a deeper understanding and more confidence to go forward and tackle stuff on your own that you can tailor towards your own needs.”

Ultimately, the scheme strives to support students in discovering their own potential and with that grows a confidence to pursue digital opportunities in a professional capacity.

On the key principles of the scheme, course leader Keye Oduneye said: “A lot of it falls back to confidence, self-belief and showing [the students] they can do it.”

With Nominet’s investment, the programme has also reached the cities of Cardiff, Glasgow and Leeds and aims to upskill 175 young people this year.

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