Microsoft has launched a new digital skills programme in UK schools, called Explore the Digital Future. The initiative aims to prepare students for the modern workplace by introducing them to the technology sector and providing teaching in topics such as artificial intelligence, big data, the internet of things and coding.
The programme offers discovery sessions, hands-on experiences and qualifications for 11 to 16-year-olds. It was launched in Digital Skills Week in April with an event featuring space scientist and BBC broadcaster Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock; Alex Warner, principal of the South Central Institute of Technology; and Clare Riley, education skills lead at Microsoft UK.
“Digital skills have never been more important,” said Chris Rothwell, director of education at Microsoft UK. “With the world now embracing a more hybrid way of working, technology is playing a key part in all our lives. In order to prepare young people for a more digital workplace, it’s crucial that they learn those skills now. We are working with schools across the UK, and I’m excited to see the impact that the Explore the Digital Future programme will have on classrooms.”
Microsoft Showcase School UTC Reading, which specialises in engineering and computer science, has quickly and easily added the new programme into its curriculum.
“Explore the Digital Future has been fantastic as a way to introduce technology, coding and digital skills to my pupils,” said Robert Bradley, director of computing at UTC Reading. “One of my classes started an interesting discussion on diversity and inclusivity. It is important that everyone in society is included in the creation of technology so it is truly inclusive of the people who will use it and benefit everyone.
“Explore the Digital Future has been quick and easy to implement and builds on top of the existing curriculum. It doesn’t replace what I’m currently teaching, it adds to it, taking learning in new and exciting directions. I can’t wait to inspire more pupils with these Microsoft resources.”