There are many ways businesses can help people improve their digital skills, from offering work experience to cyber security awareness training. Here’s what we’ve been doing lately at Pro Drive IT …

There has been a lot written about how good working practices and also developing key workplace skills should start when you’re a child. The coronavirus pandemic has sadly caused many challenges for everyone – children, parents, teachers … and workplaces! But we hope to see the lockdown easing and some sense of normality returning soon.

This includes the chance for young people to try work experience.

Thankfully, many businesses have vastly improved their opportunities for teenagers on work experience. Some have put a great deal of time and effort into making students feel welcome, supported – and useful. And when I say ‘useful’ I don’t mean in the ‘stand by the photocopier for two hours sorting out these reports’ kind of way – although, actually, students need to learn that too – work isn’t always about the fun bits and you also have to ‘work your way up’ as they say.

The need for more opportunities to learn digital skills

There is a worrying lack of students entering the tech industry. Just this week BBC News ran a report called ‘UK heading towards digital skills shortage disaster’. It pointed to the fact that The Learning & Work Institute found ‘the number of young people taking IT subjects at GCSE has dropped 40% since 2015.’

This is at a time when the demand for AI, cloud and robotics skills is soaring and digital know-how is crucial for economic recovery following the pandemic (think about the need for remote working, to be productive, professional and collaborative online, for example – not to mention the need to build new and better infrastructure and systems).

Work experience in digital skills at Pro Drive IT

Here at Pro Drive IT we encourage students to come and get involved and learn key skills, which will help them advance and excel in our industry. We have offered work experience for local schools in the past and continue to do so.

Students have different interests, so we try to allocate them tasks accordingly. Sometimes it’s coding for example; we show them what systems we use and share examples of the scripts we have.

We also take students via an organization called Spark!, a non-profit organisation which works with education and business to prepare young people for working life. We have provided work experience places to young adults with special needs. We welcomed a student from Grafham Grange at the start of 2020 and we are organizing for another student in May of this year (pandemic allowing!).

Having access to computers at home helps children learn digital skillsNews on our refurbished laptops initiative

Talking of the pandemic, some of our engineers have been busy refurbishing second-hand computers in their spare time. They were donated by colleagues and clients, to give to people in need. These include children and teenagers who have had to study from home and may not have the equipment to do so.

Pro Drive is paying for replacement parts and upgrading the specs to give these used laptops a second life and their new owners a useful tool with which to learn or work.

So far, 25 computers have been donated, refurbished and distributed via charities and schools, including Oakleaf Enterprise, B@titude, Challengers and The Kite Academy Trust.

Our Cybersecurity Guide for parents and guardians

 

Part of learning digital skills is to know about staying safe online. Learn more with our Cybersecurity guide for parents and guardians

It’s our job to know about cybersecurity and advise others on how to mitigate the risks of a possible cyber attack. We usually do this for businesses but, with our refurbished laptop initiative, we have also put together a Cybersecurity Guide for Parents and Guardians. It has important advice on how to keep children safe on the internet. You don’t have to be a recipient of one of our laptops to read it – if you’re interested, you can get it by clicking on the picture or on the link below.

The Cybersecurity Guide for Parents and Guardians is available here.

Meanwhile, if you or someone you know might be interested in our work experience opportunities, please contact Ivan on hello@prodriveit.co.uk

 

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