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Help build the next generation in tech

Digital Critical Friends (DCF) is an initiative developed by ScotlandIS in partnership with DYW Glasgow, and supported by Skills Development Scotland’s Industry in the Classroom, to encourage and inspire young people to pursue careers in tech.

If you’re interested in taking part, or just want to find out a bit more, please contact Fiona Thomson on 01506 472200 or

​What is the Digital Critical Friends programme?

A Digital Critical Friend is a volunteer from the tech industry that is matched with a secondary school in Scotland for 12 months, to mentor and support Computing Science teachers by sharing their knowledge and experience.

The industry mentor will let teacher’s know what’s happening, where the new technologies are, help them advocate to the SLT’s within their school for more or better funding for their department, and encourage young people into the subject.

If you’re interested in taking part, or just want to find out a bit more, please contact Fiona Thomson on 01506 472200 or

What problem does it solve?

We know that a large part of the reason the skills gap in our industry exists is because of the drop of rates throughout school of children and young people taking Computing Science subjects or having the opportunity to.

With the pace of technology the way it is, knowledge and curriculum can become outdated quickly, and teachers don’t receive the training to stay apprised of the developments in the tech sector or the skills needed for roles.

Likewise, young people in schools are not aware of the vast range of job opportunities within our industry that are available to them – and not just for stereotypically techie or mathematical people but also those that are creative, visionary and enjoy problem-solving.

This is what we need to change.

How does it work?

We will match you with a teacher from a school in your chosen region for 12 months based on both your skillsets.

You’d be a sounding board, a friend, a guide.  You’ll be willing to take part in catch ups, which can be virtual or in-person, however you must meet at least once a semester over the 12 month period. You might want to invite your teacher on site visits to your workplace, allowing them to observe your team(s) and provide an insight into the type of projects you’re engaged in.

Maybe present to students about subjects that interest them, showing that tech is an option and one they should be excited to take. You’ll help your teacher friend become an advocate for new technologies, be a sounding board for questions and point them in the right direction of help, advice and widen their network.

It’s an opportunity for you to share current working practices and help to shape curriculum and teaching methods.

Our Coordinator, Fiona Thomson, will check in with you both to see how you are getting on, get a progress report and find out if there is anything else we can do to help you both.

When the twelve months is over, we will ask you both to complete a short evaluation of your experience of the programme, tell us about the impact it has had on your work and let us know what you would change about the experience.

How can I get involved?

We have finished one year of the programme in Glasgow, and are recruiting for a second cohort of industry mentors in Glasgow schools.

We are also seeking industry mentors for North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde & West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire and South of Scotland. If you would be able to connect with any of these regions please let us know, as it is important that this opportunity is not limited to schools in big cities.

We hope to be able to roll out the initiative nationwide to benefit each region of Scotland.

If you’re interested in taking part, please contact Fiona Thomson on 01506 472200 or

It doesn’t matter what your role is; we are looking for volunteers from junior software developers to CTO’s, and tech experts from across all digital professions! If you are passionate about making a difference, you’re the right person for the job.

Partnership with STEM Ambassadors and Tech She Can

We recently partnered with STEM Ambassadors and Tech She Can to improve collaboration between our own programmes and better tackle the digital skills gap in Scotland.

Through this collaboration, our new Digital Critical Friends will become STEM Ambassadors, making it much easier to obtain PVG accreditation. They will also have access to Tech She Can’s ‘Tech We Can’ educational resources, allowing them to increase the support they give to teachers in delivering tech-related lessons and inspiring pupils to consider careers in STEM.

Find out more about our partnership here.

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