New partnership launched to combat Covid-19 digital exclusion in teens

Posted on July 14, 2020 by Alistair Hardaker

InnovateHer students

InnovateHer students

A social enterprise getting girls ready for the tech industry has launched a new partnership with The Prince’s Trust in Greater Manchester to help girls aged 13 -16 access new online training.

InnovateHer’s programme will be delivered  home during the pandemic, pivoting from an in-person after-school programme.

Led by industry mentors, the InnovateHer online course teaches girls digital skills while working on solving real world problems related to Covid-19.

Mentors will set new challenges every week, and will accept ideas for a competition to win a work industry placement at a local tech firm.

The courses are supported by organisations such as the Co-op and by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Nicola Webb, Management Support Officer at the Co-op said: “Thanks to a generous offer from an avid InnovateHer supporter, we have 4 of our students currently taking part in the online programme with another 2 starting in July.

“The girls are absolutely loving it, we can’t wait to speak to them to hear how much they enjoyed it and what they achieved.”

InnovateHer launched its first online course in April of this year, with an option to ‘donate a place’, enabling individuals to support a girl to have free access to the programme.

The criteria for a free place includes that they are receipt of free school meals and applicants from BAME groups are prioritised.

InnovateHer said sign-up data indicates a number of girls did not have access to the hardware they needed, and some did not have internet access at home.

The new partnership with The Prince’s Trust is designed to ensure girls from any background will get equal access to equipment and dongles pre-loaded with data if they need it. They can keep the equipment indefinitely.

Matt Pilling, Head of Operations at The Prince’s Trust in Greater Manchester, said: “COVID-19 has forced schools and colleges to close and pupils to be educated from home. However, there are believed to be many young people in Greater Manchester currently living without the necessary equipment needed to carry out the curriculum, and as a consequence their education is suffering.

“We’re proud to be working with InnovateHer, to provide young students with much needed access to the internet, so that they fulfil their potential and take a step towards a future career in the digital sector.”

InnovateHer is launching its next online course in August, inviting girls of any background or capability to apply. It said those in need will be provided with the necessary equipment from The Prince’s Trust to complete the programme.

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