As they prepare to kick off their GirlRise programme, Ellie Edwards-Scott sits down with DigiLearning founders Lisa Goodchild and Sarah Wilson to discuss their latest initiative.
With schools and universities closed once more for the majority of students, the lack of access to technology and the widening digital skills gap is highlighted once again. Yet the challenges that a third national lockdown brings are nothing new for the Digilearning Foundation, a UK charity dedicated to educating children, parents, and teachers with digital skills.
The Digilearning Foundation mission is to encourage creativity, connectivity and digital skills. The Foundation provides life-changing opportunities to empower young people with real-life in-demand career skills. Created in 2019 it has gone on to run workshops in schools, create an online short course platform with Rio Ferdinand Foundation (RFF) and Young Urban Arts Foundation (YUAF) and launched an international skills and training programme for young adults between 16-24-year-olds. Their courses and initiatives last year included:
DigiRise – A twelve-week course run twice a year in association with Takumi. Over the twelve weeks, young people learn about finance, pitching, health & wellbeing, business fundamentals and getting a job. Participants in the DigiRise programme also learn about different careers and are matched with a mentor. The final destination is to support these young people into work or helping them set up a business.
YRD – Funded by the National Lottery YRD was set up by YUAF, RFF and DL as an immediate response to the COVID pandemic. Providing leadership, creative and digital life skills for young people aged 13-24. The partnership was extremely successful in helping hundreds of young people over a 6-month period.
Digifest – A two-day immersive community workshop, using technology to help promote economic growth, increase social well-being and narrow social gaps.
Their latest initiative GirlRise which launches in March is aimed at young women aged 16-24 years old. The GirlRise programme has been sponsored by The Financial Times and Takumi.
Over the course of twelve weeks, a group of sixty girls, predominantly from underserved social backgrounds will be taken on a journey to learn about everything from public speaking, CV writing, pitching and business fundamentals. Online moderators are from Digilearning partners such as Takumi, Barclays, Virgin Red, TikTok and Sage Accounting. The young participants of GirlRise will be led in revolutionary digital career experiences, enrolled in a mentorship programme and able to build relationships with others via the DigiRise platform.
“Gen Z has been born into the world with screens and they consume digital differently. It’s important to provide them with the skill-sets to take them into the world of work. This is our opportunity to develop, educate and make a change for the next generation in order to shift gears.” says Mary Keane-Dawson who is group CEO of Takumi, a leading global influencer marketing agency which offers influencer-led creative solutions for brands and one of DigiLearning’s leading partners.
Before the pandemic hit Digilearning was running face to face events in many schools and youth centres across the UK. Goodchild and Wilson quickly turned their thoughts to how the young people that they usually engaged with could continue to receive their learning and out of this necessity both the YRD short course platform and the DigiRise programme was born.
Digilearning has so far helped over 800 young people from the UK, Barbados and Jamaica.
Goodchild and Wilson are already planning more courses that will take place throughout the year and are keen to partner with businesses that can offer course content, materials for workshops, work with them on their mentorship programme and provide financial sponsorship.