Technology and consulting giant Capgemini and youth charity The Prince's Trust have launched a digital programme that provides digital skills to underprivileged young people in the UK.

"Making this a journey not just an event. That's what's key for us", says Capgemini vice president Nigel Walsh.

Credit: iStock/Yuri_Arcurs

The partnership builds on a ten year relationship with The Prince's Trust and aims to help 600 young people gain digital skills. It will run until 2019.

The Prince’s Trust's marketing and comms director Paul Brown said: "Capgemini and The Prince's Trust have partnered up to offer courses promoting learning and development opportunities to underprivileged young people."

The initiative focuses on three groups:

XL Club aimed at 13-19 year olds that are at risk of exclusion from school targeting social media and cloud technology.

Get Started with Apps aimed at the most disadvantaged young people focusing on big data an app creation.

And Get Into aimed at 16-25 year olds that need help getting back into the workplace by providing vocational training and work experience.

These groups range from one day workshops to five day courses.

All programmes aim to help "individuals that are struggling to either stay on the ladder or move further up the ladder and get back into what we would define as a normal workplace", says Walsh

"And digital for us is kind of the core of that. Everyone we impact for me is a huge win", says Walsh

"Most organisations will look at someone with a criminal record in their background and go "we can't accept you" but I think having the opportunity to get out of that and turn your life around is amazing", he added.

Techworld spoke to Kaher Khan, a young person that gained digital skills through the Get Started with Apps programme.

Despite having a degree in economics, Khan struggled to secure employment. The JobCentre Plus put him in contact with The Prince's Trust and from there enrolled Khan in the scheme.

"[The programme] gave me a new set of ideas and skills for me to use again" says Khan .

The five day course provided insight into the app industry and enabled Khan to design his own app and pitch it to Capgemini and The Princes Trust.

Khan 's app, a reading application aimed to help adults and children was named winner of the competition in an end of programme showcase.

"What we've tried to do is give people the opportunity to do things that are structured" , he added.

Capgemini have a variety of other programmes focusing on young people and the digital sector.

The Capgemini's Schools Programme is just one of these aimed at 'giving young people the chance to develop and practice employability skills, and sharing our passion for technology'.  

Through these in-school or office based workshops Capgemini cover IT skills, business know-how and communication and teamwork in an attempt to bridge the gap between the school and the workplace.

With the demand for IT roles outstripping the number of available candidates, developing this sector through school and other programmes makes perfect sense, not only for the digital economy but for the lives of young people in general.

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