Prince’s Trust Launches New ICT Education Initiative

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£500,000 donated by will.i.am will be spent on getting disadvantaged children interested in technology and science

The Prince’s Trust has launched a new scheme to provide disadvantaged children with essential computer skills and get them interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

The workshops will be run in partnership with the Science Museum and are endorsed by Will.I.Am, music artist and Intel’s director of creative innovation who donated£500,000 to the charity last year.

The Trust has also published the results of a study that found almost a quarter of unemployed young people were intimidated by online job applications, and one in ten admitted they avoid using computers altogether.

Earlier this year, the National Audit Office warned that if the number of applicants for ICT courses doesn’t increase, it could take “up to 20 years” to fill the skills gap in the cyber security field.

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In a survey of 1,378 British 15-to-25-year-olds conducted by the Prince’s Trust, 10 percent said they were embarrassed by their lack of computer-related skills, and 17 percent admitted that they don’t even try to apply for a job that requires a basic knowledge of IT.

Raspberry-Pi-Lesson-1As part of the Prince’s Trust initiative, Science Museum staff will visit “xl clubs” in schools across the country to deliver workshops aimed at engaging 13-19 year olds and inspiring them to study STEM subjects. The charity’s main objective is to help children who might not have access to a computer outside school.

The scheme will be financed by Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am, who donated the £500,000 earned on BBC’s singing contest The Voice to help young people in the UK.

“I have met with young people who are being supported by The Trust to improve their digital skills or seek to make their living through STEM related subjects,” said the artist. “I am proud to see my donation to The Prince’s Trust being put into action to help engage disadvantaged youth who would not otherwise have access to technology and science education.”

“We work with the hardest-to-reach pupils, who may not have access to a computer at home and often don’t have basic IT skills,” added Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust.

“We’re also giving young people more access to IT to support them into work and helping more unemployed young people set up technology-related businesses. The donation from will.i.am is transforming how we help young people in all these areas.”

Over the last few years, Will.I.Am has become something of a celebrity spokesman for the technology sector. Besides holding the title of director of creative innovation at Intel, designing iPhone gadgets and regularly commenting on consumer issues, he also founded “i.am angel”, a non-profit dedicated to education. “I hope none of the kids I send to school only want to do music. The world doesn’t need another musician. They need another Bill Gates,” he said in an interview last month.

The launch of the Prince’s Trust initiative comes a week after European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes announced the creation of the Grand Coalition for ICT skills”, designed to help the shortage of IT professionals in Europe by raising awareness of the opportunities in the industry and improving education.

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