TeenTech partners with DCMS to reach young people in new areas

After 10 years in operation, social enterprise links up with government department and Local Digital Skills Partnership to reach teens in new cities

Social enterprise TeenTech has partnered with the Department for Education, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Local Digital Skills Partnership to expand its work into new areas of the country.

The partnerships will enable TeenTech to expand into new regions to offer programmes for young people, starting with Milton Keynes, Leicester, the West Midlands, Bristol and Hull.

These new programmes mark the organisation’s 10th anniversary.

Maggie Philbin, CEO of TeenTech, said the new programmes will include a festival day in each region, teachers’ events and innovation days.

“I am so proud of what has been achieved,” she said. “We had no idea when we built that first event in an empty office building on Green Park that it would develop to include over 300 companies and reach over 10,000 young people with quality face-to-face interventions every year.”

TeenTech plans to hold 85 events over the next year to help 12,000 young people learn more about roles in the technology industry, as well as giving them face-to-face advice and hands-on experience with technology.

The events include challenges set by industry professionals, innovation days on companies’ sites and City of Tomorrow events, which aim to get children to create technologies to solve future problems. The objective is to highlight the career opportunities available in the tech industry and begin introducing young people to the skillsets they would need to pursue them.

The programmes also aim to build ongoing relationships between schools and local businesses to keep each other up to date with available roles and skills required, as well as increase participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem). One of the schools taking part in TeenTech programmes saw a 300% increase in the number of students taking design and technology subjects.

However, many teachers do not feel they have the skills needed to teach concepts such as coding, and many also think they need help in encouraging children into Stem because they are not fully aware of the depth and breadth of Stem careers.

More than 80% of teachers say taking part in these events increases their understanding of Stem – and now TeenTech’s partnership with DCMS will help it to reach 300 more schools across the UK.

Read more about Stem education

Digital minister Margot James said: “It is great to see TeenTech developing initiatives to help the next generation of digital leaders reach their full potential in society and the future workplace.

“Their industry-led programmes inform and engage young people about possible career paths, breaking down stereotypes and raising aspirations. I am delighted that we are creating a partnership with TeenTech so they can reach more young people.”

There is also a lack of girls choosing to take Stem subjects at higher levels, and in many cases experts put this down to a shortage of visible or accessible role models in Stem careers – something girls have said they want to see more of.

The TeenTech Awards programme has 55% female participation, and one school saw the number of girls taking GCSE physics increase from 43% to 85% after taking part in TeenTech programmes.

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