Over 500 pupils from schools and colleges in Greater Manchester and Lancashire are benefitting from after-school sessions which are designed to help them prepare for jobs in digital industries.
Students taking part in the scheme, called Digital Advantage, are offered 24 sessions designed to give them a greater understanding of digital careers.
The initiative has been set up to tackle a technological skills gap in the UK. In June, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee said that the UK needs a further 745,000 workers with digital skills by 2017. It warned that the skills gap could costs the British economy around £63bn a year.
Andy Lovatt, managing director of The White Room, which delivers Digital Advantage, said: “Creative, technical and business brains are desperately needed right across digital industry. Students that get apprenticeships through Digital Advantage will benefit from high quality work experience, respected qualifications and good starting salaries; giving them a head start in the digital industries over young people coming out of university.”
Every sixth former who takes part in the scheme is guaranteed an interview for an apprenticeship in the digital industries.
Bernie Furey, assistant head teacher at St Ambrose Barlow RC High School in Salford, where the scheme is in place, said: “Some of our highest achieving pupils are now considering a career in these industries, something which they previously would not have considered.”