CityFibre, one of the UK’s leading infrastructure providers, has pledged its support in tackling the digital skills gap in Scotland.
The company – which has created Gigabit Cities in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling – is partnering with Digital Xtra Fund as part of a commitment to help young people across the country.
Launched in 2016 by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership, a collaboration of public and private sector organisations, Digital Xtra Fund became an independent charity in March 2017. The Fund aims to ensure that young people have the opportunity to develop the skills required to thrive in the digital age regardless of their gender, background, or where they live.
The partnership will see CityFibre lend financial support, in turn allowing the Fund to boost exciting extracurricular digital technology activities across Scotland such as Stirling High School’s Digital Learning Hub in partnership with CodeBase Stirling, The Prince’s Trust’s #PTDigiDay in Glasgow as part of their Achieve Programme, or Angus Young Engineers’ CAD/CAM Café in Angus.
CityFibre has already shown its commitment to supporting a growth in digital skills across Scotland, having connected a number of schools to its full fibre networks. That infrastructure is laying the foundation for young people to use cutting-edge digital tools and unlock e-learning initiatives such as coding and app-building – skills which will only grow in value in the years to come.
James McClafferty, Head of Regional Development for CityFibre, said: “Digital Xtra Fund is playing a key role in helping young people learn the skills they will need to succeed in a digital future. It is crucial that they are supported by industry, which is why CityFibre is delighted to come on board as a key partner.
“The full fibre networks we are building across Scotland and the rest of the UK will be vital in helping to unlock the digital potential our young people have, and ensure they are not held back by our current infrastructure. As digital connectivity becomes more and more essential, we have to ensure our young people are capable of making the most of its potential. We look forward to working with Digital Xtra Fund and to identifying projects to support across Scotland.”
In addition to schools, CityFibre’s ultrafast networks are also accelerating the digital capabilities of businesses, local councils, libraries and community centres and the company is determined to help ensure Scotland becomes one of the world’s best connected places.
That vision is fast becoming a reality as CityFibre embarks on its partnership with Vodafone which will see cities transformed through the ‘Fibre to the Premises’ programme. This will bring Gigabit-capable full fibre to one million homes and businesses across the UK by 2021 – with Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Stirling among the first cities announced.
Recent research by economic consultancy Regeneris examined how the economy would benefit from full fibre connectivity, quantifying the impact to cities over 15 years. Across that time period – when many of today’s school pupils will be entering the employment market – there is a clear benefit to full fibre in areas including productivity, innovation, worker flexibility and health.
For example, in the four cities in Scotland where CityFibre is operational – Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling – there is a predicted £458m impact in terms of productivity and innovation.
Kraig Brown, Partnerships & Development Manager, Digital Xtra Fund, said: “It is a very exciting time to partner with CityFibre as they begin to transform the digital landscape of the UK and bring gigabit speed connectivity to entire communities. The high-quality initiatives supported by Digital Xtra Fund will spark that first interest in digital technologies and equip young people with the skills and experiences they need to succeed in a digital age, but it is organisations like CityFibre who will help fuel long-term possibilities for the next generation.
“Key to a strong digital future is an environment where businesses big and small can develop and grow uninhibited by aging technology and infrastructure. Unlimited bandwidth has the potential to change the digital landscape for today’s young people as much as email and mobile phones did for my generation.”
For more information on Digital Xtra Fund, visit http://www.digitalxtrafund.scot