20 November 2016

A few months ago, we embarked upon one of our biggest projects to shape the future of the business and beyond.

UKFast Code Club helps youngsters learn programming whilst having fun at the same time

UKFast Code Club helps youngsters learn programming whilst having fun at the same time

We’ve been partners with the Dean Trust for many years now and we work with more than 57,000 pupils across schools in Greater Manchester and the country, running Code Clubs, workshops, away days and helping to build the IT curriculum.

Combining our experience in the industry with working with the schools and universities, we’ve seen that there are clear gaps in what traditional education teaches children and what businesses need from school leavers.

That’s why we’ve taken our mission to help take education to the next level. I wrote about our bid to launch a new secondary school in Manchester in my blog post earlier in the week: We’re working with the Dean Trust to create a secondary school that prepares children for an increasingly digital world, where digital literacy is thread throughout the curriculum and where modern skills are combined with traditional values.

The Dean Trust has an extraordinary reputation for upholding the traditional values of school education – smart uniforms, great manners and strong moral purpose. Their values and moral purpose are reflected in the values that we hold at UKFast; I’m sure that’s why we work so well together as a partnership.

As part of our bid to launch this school, we want to hear from the community – from businesses in need of skilled workers, from parents in need of great schools. We want to shape this school around what our community needs and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

You can find out more about our school bid at the UKFast Dean Trust website.

I have long said that it is the responsibility of businesses to help shape the future of our country, to help prepare young people for the world of work and to fill in the gaps left by a government with a huge deficit and seemingly a focus on in-fighting rather than tackling the issues that really need sorting out.

We could sit back and complain that the changes we need are not being made, or we could make the changes ourselves.

It is extraordinary to think of the difference that businesspeople can make to young people and the future of our country by stepping up to the mark and working with the community to improve the areas that need it.

Take Mission Christmas for example. This week we launched the annual Mission Christmas campaign with Key 103 and a group of businesses from across the region at UKFast Campus and it was a completely different type of lesson. The festive campaign sees the radio station and its charity, Cash for Kids, drum up support from people to donate toys to the one in three children who are below the poverty line in our region, the children who would otherwise not get a gift on Christmas morning this year. It’s a wake up call for all of us.

Some of the Mission Christmas toy donations at the UKFast grotto

Some of the Mission Christmas toy donations at the UKFast grotto

One in three children below the poverty line on our doorstep – that’s more than 210,000 children in Greater Manchester. It’s shocking isn’t it. Hard to believe that these stats exist in this day and age.

I can’t imagine, as a parent of four daughters, waking up on Christmas Day and the house not being full of joy. The pressure for these parents, who are struggling to put food on the table never mind to buy gifts, must be enormous. It’s unimaginable and, whilst we invariably won’t be able to help every child in that situation with one campaign, the more people that do donate or get involved and the more businesses that sign up as drop-off points, the more children we can help. The more smiles we can make.

That’s what it is all about really isn’t it. It’s about putting a smile on people’s faces. Making people happy.

I am excited to kickstart the campaign of which I am proud to be a trustee, and I am excited to head into the new year with the wheels in motion for our school bid. I’ll keep you updated on how we get on.

I hope to hear from you – your opinions on tech education in schools, what we need from school leavers and how you’re helping your community in the build up to Christmas.

In the meantime, please take a look at the video below about our hopes for the UKFast Dean Trust school and let me know what you think our region needs from digital education.

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