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  • What is My Digital Future?
    My Digital Future is an initiative to help young people develop their digital skills for life and for work. We offer online sessions on employability, careers and tech which are designed to help and inspire you when making choices for the future – these sessions are free and open to anyone. We know that some people face barriers when they want to develop digital skills, for example, they might not know anyone who can help them with their future choices, they might not have access to anyone working in technology and they might not have their own device. To help people in these circumstances we’re offering some funded places which provide coaching and funding across a three year period to help young people achieve their goals.
  • How many funded places are available each year?
    Currently, there is support for between 10 and 15 successful applications each year for the first three years (possibly more as funding allows).
  • Why are the places so limited in number?
    This is a new development and one that BCS wants to ensure works and works well. This means starting small and learning as we roll out the programme, taking feedback from student participants, coaches, businesses and others. In this way, we can make sure that when we can scale the offer up to more students and areas, we do so with good evidence to support the roll-out.
  • Digital skills are entirely new to me – would I be eligible?
    The programme can be a very first step for someone, or it may support someone who has already started to develop their skills. Taking that first step is very important, and this programme is aimed at helping people to do just that, giving them a great start to their digital skills career.
  • Is the financial support available in each of the three years?
    The financial support is available to be drawn down on at any point over the 3 years of the programme.
  • Will I be coached as part of the programme?
    Yes – this is an essential element of the support. You will be allocated a coach, who will be a digital skills expert and who has been trained. They will work with you initially to determine the best package of measures that you may wish to access and will work with you periodically across the first year of the programme.
  • Why does the support taper off across three years?
    The programme aims to develop individuals to the point where they can take ownership and control of their digital skills development. This sees individuals drawing on the intense input from the first year to building their own networks, choosing new training and development routes, and increasingly being able to map their own route into a digital career. By the third year, you will be able to complete the circle by offering support to new applicants as part of an alumni community.
  • I am already on a development programme or accessing digital skills through other approaches, is this programme still for me?
    It may be…the BCS programme is intended to be flexible ad to add value to existing training and development. Demonstrating why the programme is the best option for you will be a critical part of your application, ensuring that the best package of measures is put in place (if you are successful) is a central part of your initial conversation with your programme coach.
  • How will applications be assessed?
    Applications will be assessed (if eligibility criteria are satisfied) without reference to personal information (for example, age) by a panel of BCS staff and experienced professionals using an agreed scoring approach. The supporting statements will be rated against the extent to which they convincingly: Show your commitment to your digital skills development Set out why this programme will help improve your digital skills Describe how taking this step will support your next steps in developing a digital career Show what other steps you may have taken to address your digital skills needs
  • What can I use the financial support for?
    This may be used to underpin the purchase of digital equipment (for example, a laptop), textbooks (BCS can obtain these at a discounted rate) or travel. All suggestions for expenditure should be discussed with your coach and receipts provided when purchases are made.
  • Can the available funding be used towards one particular support element?
    The case for spending the available funding must be one that the participant and their coach (and others offering support) agree will make the most positive impact. If that is a selection of options – software, training, books – or a contribution towards (for example) a device that is able to support digital skills development better than anything the participant has already, that is within the scope of the way funds are used. Any use of funding must be well justified and the use of any purchased items will be checked during the duration of the programme in feedback sessions.
  • As a business, I want to support the programme. How can I do this?
    There are many ways to become involved in My Digital Future. You and your colleagues may choose to train as coaches to support young people. You may want to offer insight sessions (in person or online) to young people (and, perhaps their parents/carers) or ‘meet the expert’ opportunities, to help bring roles to life and showcase how inclusive careers in computing/digital skills can be. Organisations may also offer placements, access to training materials or support programmes, kit, or direct finance (every £3,000 will support another student on the programme).
  • We already support another programme focused on digital skills/working with disadvantaged young people: can we also work with My Digital Future?
    Yes. The idea behind My Digital Future overlaps with many other programmes but brings the unique access to BCS membership expertise in computing and digital skills. The programme needs to find ways to bridge to other initiatives and to add value, increasing the life chances of young people rather than presenting them with too many choices or being seen as competing with other offers. With your help, we can make this landscape work better for young people and the organisations working in these spaces.
  • When do applications open?
    Applications for the next phase of the programme will open in January 2024.
  • What is the eligibility criteria?
    Applicants must be a UK resident and meet at least one of the criteria for each category below Criteria A: Aged between 16-24 at the time of applying About to study or already studying in a digital or IT related subject From a BIPOC/BAME or marginalised community *Black, indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) or black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Criteria B: No family members have been to university Current or previous free school meal recipient Primary caregiver Receive income support, income-based job seekers allowance, income related support allowance or universal credit You are classed as an immigrant You or your parents are refugees
  • What if I decide I don’t want to pursue digital skills or need to leave the programme for another reason?
    If you participate in the programme, it is because you have thought about digital and computing careers and study as a possible option, and you will have some interest in the subject already (for example, studying a related subject at school or college). Although there may be many activities at school – such as career fairs or work experience – and you may have incredibly talented teachers who help you to understand what options are available to you, this programme will give you additional insights into the many routes there are into and within computing and digital occupations. We think that being part of the programme will, most of the time, help to clarify what you want to do with these skills, but it is also possible that you may decide that you want to look at other and different study and work options. If that is the case, then our view is that our programme has helped you to make a career decision by providing you with experience and knowledge. In cases where your participation has included purchasing materials such as a laptop computer or other kit, we would expect you to repay a proportion of the funding you received towards purchasing these items if you would like to retain them. If you do not want to retain any kit that has been bought with support from the programme then it will be possible to return this to the My Digital Future to be recycled.
  • How is the financial support paid to me? Before I purchase an item or paid upon submission of receipt?
    Funding is primarily offered on the receipt of evidence that an item has been purchased. If the circumstances require prior payment, that may be possible, as long as receipts are kept and shared.
  • What if I am unable to afford the item(s) I need without receiving the support funds first?
    As above, in cases where there is a clear case for providing contributions from My Digital Future ahead of purchase, then this may be possible.
  • Am I able to change my coach if requested?
    Yes. Coaching requires a good rapport to be established between those coaching and the person being coached. If that is not working well, there will be an opportunity to change.
  • I have more questions…
    Please email and add 'My Digital Future' to your subject line if you have any further questions about the programme
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