Guernsey’s Digital Greenhouse’s Digital Innovator Programme, which is powered by First Central Group, kicked off again this week.
Now in its fifth year, the programme invites sixth form and College of Further Education students to tackle a skills problem statement using technology-based solutions.
The purpose of the programme is to develop opportunities for young people to engage with digital technologies, with hundreds of students expected to benefit over the next six months.
The first session, held on 15th December 2022, asked 25 College of Further Education students to create solutions for the following problem statement set by the First Central team:
‘As children get older in Guernsey, they become less active. How can technology be used to keep young people active in an inclusive and accessible way?’
First Central Chief Information Officer John Davison said: “We’re excited to bring back the Digital Innovator Programme for another year. The problem statements look at how issues impacting Guernsey can be solved through the use of technology. The aim of the programme is to help minimise the digital skills gap locally and equip students for a career in the technology sector. Each year the programme has grown in popularity with 205 students taking part last year. I’m looking forward to seeing what technological solutions the students come up with.”
The problem statement is particularly relevant as the Natwest Island Games will be hosted in Guernsey next year shining a spotlight on sport and physical activity. Guernsey was also recently listed 12th in the world for childhood physical activity by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance.
Even though being listed 12th is very positive for a small island, Dr Simon Sebire, Chief Executive Officer of the Health Improvement Commission and Digital Innovator Programme judge, has said there is still more work to be done: “While it is very promising to see recent improvements in our physical activity scorecard it is important to note that, in some areas, the grades show that a significant number of our children and young people are not moving enough nor often enough to reap the mental, physical, and social benefits of regular physical activity. Like elsewhere, our children become less active as they get older.
“I’m pleased to be a part of the programme this year and am keen to attend the sessions to help the students understand the problem statement from a local perspective. Enabling young people to improve their health by finding innovative digital solutions to the barriers they face to being active is a really exciting challenge and I can’t wait to see the ideas they come up with.”
Ali Mohiuddin, College of Future Education IT student, said: “The programme has been really good so far. The first session has been very useful as we’ve been provided with lots of materials to help better understand the problem statement. One of the units we are studying at college is on social media and the Island Games so the problem statement is very relevant and I’m hoping to expand my knowledge on sport which will help with my studies. I’m very interested in IT and I’m looking forward to gaining new skills and building contacts with local employers.”
Jenny de la Mare, Development Officer at the Digital Greenhouse, said: “Guernsey is full of creativity and innovation and this scheme gives young people the chance to showcase their skills and learn new ones while creating solutions that could positively impact the island. The programme offers a unique way of learning that will be useful not only for their future careers but in all aspects of life. We want to inspire all young people to reach their potential, harness creative thinking and apply this to their use of technology. I’m sure we’re going to see some fantastic ideas over the next 6 months.”
The initiative continues throughout the academic year, with sessions each half term and will cumulate in a final competition where the students will pitch their solutions.