Belfast, Monday 7th December – Kainos has partnered with The Prince’s Trust to deliver digital skills training to 400 disadvantaged young people in Northern Ireland over the next six months. The partnership is part of the company’s commitment to enriching the lives of the next generation, which it delivers through a series of initiatives that make up its ‘Tech Outreach’ programme.

The partnership launched last week at an event in Larne High School, where 32 young people attended a digital skills day comprised of a series of workshops in coding, CV building, interviews and presentation skills. The group was introduced to coding through CodeBugs – a programmable and wearable device designed to introduce simple programming and electronic concepts.

Over the next six months, Kainos will work with The Prince’s Trust to deliver digital skills training as part of the Trust’s ‘xl programme’, a personal development programme for 13 to 19-year-olds who are at risk of underachievement or exclusion from school. The training is delivered via a series of one day workshops, and a longer 6-week programme. During the programme, young people work together as a group on practical learning projects, which are designed to boost confidence, improve self-esteem, attainment, behaviour and attendance. The participants will gain valuable insights into digital and employability skills, with the aim of improving their chances of getting jobs in the future and sparking an interest in technology.

The Prince’s Trust revealed in 2015 that 10% of young people who are not in education or employment say they are “out of their depth” using computers. A quarter stated they were uncomfortable with, or unable to fill out, online job applications, and a lack of digital skills often acted as a barrier when trying to apply for jobs. Supporting The Prince’s Trust in its efforts to improve these statistics is a natural fit for Kainos, which announced its dedicated Tech Outreach programme earlier this year.

Gemma Crothers, Tech Outreach Manager at Kainos comments, “Our Tech Outreach programme aims to inspire the next generation and provide practical examples of how technology can enrich lives. Our work with The Prince’s Trust allows students to gain valuable insights into digital and employability skills, in an informal learning environment.

“The Larne High School students responded well to the course material during Thursday’s launch event, having progressed from basic coding exercises to more advanced tutorials in just a few hours. This shows that they have a genuine interest in the programme, and we hope to continue working with them to improve their digital skills further.”

Building on the success of the launch event last week, Kainos is planning more digital skills days next year, with events confirmed to take place in the Christian Brothers’ School in Belfast and Belfast Boys’ Model School in January.