A year after the launch of the UKFast Digital Challenge badge, 300 Guides and Scouts have taken up the challenge, designed to engage and educate young people in various areas of digital technology.
Originally created by Manchester technology firm UKFast and 2nd Northenden Guides with an eye on the digital gender gap, the badge has also been taken up by a number of Scout patrols.
Attending digital parties run by UKFast engineers, Scouts and Guides learn how servers and data centres work, code robot mice, design apps and quiz engineers on careers in the digital industry. They also have the chance to enjoy a ride on the firm’s 50ft slide.
UKFast co-founder and managing director Gail Jones said: “It’s fantastic to see the level of uptake there has been for the Digital Challenge badges. Things have certainly moved on since my time in Brownies and Guides, when my first badge was Homemaker.
"So I am thrilled we’ve given the girls and boys a taste of our digital world and hopefully shown them how exciting a career in tech can be.
“We’ve created a practical badge that develops skills that are invaluable to our industry that sadly aren’t being taught in schools to the standards that we need. The feedback we’ve had from the children, their parents and leaders has been exceptional and we can’t wait to welcome more groups to our Campus.”
Activities required for completion of the challenge badge can be done anywhere, with few technical resources, ensuring it is accessible to all.
Kate Johnson, a leader at 4th Hale Guides, said: “The Digital Challenge night at UKFast was an absolutely fantastic evening and a real highlight of our year. The activities were pitched just right for all of the girls.
“As one of the parents commented, it’s inspiring and empowering for the girls to see what is out there and a fab opportunity to learn and grow.”
Groups from Stockport, Bolton, Wythenshawe and Hale have shown a particular interest in taking up the digital challenge badge, and now UKFast and the badge’s creators at 2nd Northenden Guides are urging more Guides and Scouts from across the region to take up the challenge.
UKFast works with 60,000 students from more than 60 educational institutions across Greater Manchester, promoting tech careers and teaching digital skills.