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by Jenni Davidson
13 May 2021
Computing teachers in Glasgow paired with industry partners in ‘critical friends’ programme

Computers in a classroom - Image credit: Antonio Chaves/CC BY-SA 4.0

Computing teachers in Glasgow paired with industry partners in ‘critical friends’ programme

Computing teachers in Glasgow are being paired up with partners from industry in an initiative that is aimed at encouraging more young people to take computer science.

The Digital Critical Friends programme is a partnership between tech sector body ScotlandIS, Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Glasgow and Glasgow City Council secondary schools. 

The programme matches teachers with people working in industry in order to share current practices and technological innovations, while also giving industry the opportunity to feed into curriculum development to keep it relevant.

This will ensure that young people are being trained in the skills that are needed for the future and encourage more young people to take up the subject.

Businesses that have already signed up to the initiative include PwC, Virgin Money, Amazon, Leidos, Morgan Stanley and Adobe.

Other businesses that are involved in the programme are CalMac, I-Confidential, SDS, Wescot Credit Services, Cutitronics, Massive Digital, CF Online, Capgemini, Palo Alto Networks, University of Strathclyde, Codify, BJSS and Nomadix Media.

Karen Meechan, interim chair of ScotlandIS, said: “We know that a big reason the skills gap in our industry exists is because of the drop-off rates of school children and young people choosing the subject, or having the opportunity to.

“Our aim is to become involved to help rectify this and provide industry mentors for computer science teachers across Glasgow.

“This will allow us to let teachers know what’s happening, where the new technologies are, and help them advocate for more or better funding for their department and encourage young people into the computing and tech subjects.”

The initiative follows on from last year’s Technology Ecosystem Review by Mark Logan, which recommended that computing science be treated as a core school subject in the same way as maths and physics.

Alison McRae, senior director of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of DYW Glasgow, commented: “Businesses play a key role in the response to the recommendations of the Logan review.

“This project provides a great opportunity for digital tech businesses in Glasgow and Scotland to influence future skills and talent to meet future economic demand. 

“Our goal for this legacy building project is to ensure the curriculum is industry relevant, that teachers are upskilled, and sector savvy and young people have an increased awareness of digital career opportunities through industry influence.”

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