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GDS to launch mentoring scheme for schools and colleges

Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock has announced plans for a GDS mentoring scheme, partnering with local schools and colleges

The Government Digital Service (GDS) will begin going into schools and colleges to mentor students, Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock has announced.

Speaking at a Croydon Tech City event on 21 January, Hancock said that GDS will partner with schools to create a mentoring scheme, helping pupils into technology and engineering careers.

The Croydon Tech City movement started four years ago and is now home to more than 1,000 digital, technical and creative startups. One of its initiatives, Future Tech City, offers mentoring, apprenticeships and work experience for young people.

Hancock said that GDS “will join the dots” and help school pupils gain the skills they need to launch their own tech startups.

He said that his ambition was for civil servants from across different professions to “raise aspirations” and mentor the students, using the work of Future Tech City as an inspiration.

“Tech City is reaching out into the community and helping young people learn the right skills to start and grow a business, and to connect to a network,” he said.

“It’s clearly the start of something, and I want the government to do all we can to get behind initiatives likes this. I’m here to listen to our new tech stars and find out what we can do to help.”

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A few days earlier, a report by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found that one of the main barriers to greater digital skills proliferation in the UK is a lack of collaboration between bodies such as councils, schools and employers, meaning local output does not match local skills demand.

The report also said that more young people, especially girls “must be attracted to continue digital education and pursue careers”.

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