Hundreds of Wales students champion digital skills to get local people online

Nearly 400 students from schools in Wales have signed up for the new BT Digital Champions initiative to get more local people online. 

Aberdare Girls’ school in Cwmbach Road and Dyffryn Taf School in North Road, Whitland, are amongst those Welsh schools taking part in the scheme launched by BT in partnership with children’s charity The Transformation Trust. It is part of BT’s Better Future programme, which is a commitment to use the power of communications to improve lives and ways of doing business. 

The scheme is one of a number of projects that BT is running to help people get online and develop the skills and confidence to use the internet. 

Around 160 students from Aberdare and 100 from Dyffryn Taf schools are already actively involved in the scheme and a further 130 students from other schools in Wales have also pledged to become BT digital champions. 

Sara Davies, assistant head teacher for Aberdare Girls’ School, said: “The simple idea behind this programme is that young people are digital natives, meaning they have grown up with computers, laptops and smart-phones so using the internet is second nature to them. The BT Digital Champions programme gives pupils the chance to do something for people in their community, to enjoy the satisfaction of sharing their skills and helping someone learn something new which could transform their lives. The students love the experience and can’t wait to go to Rock Assembly.” 

Using the knowledge and expertise of volunteer students from local schools, BT Digital Champions builds the confidence and competence of people living in the local community to get online and get more out of life. 
Each student has volunteered to help a local person get online and teach them vital skills such as surfing the internet, using email and accessing and understanding social networking sites. 

Ann Beynon, BT’s director for Wales, said: “This is a great way for young people to share their skills and knowledge with others in the communities in which they live. 

“Despite the fact the internet is now an essential part of everyday life, more than seven million UK adults are still not online. This means they may miss out on employment or educational opportunities, online shopping bargains and even simple, quick access to information services such as NHS Direct. 

“BT is proud to support schools in Wales that are using the power of digital connections to improve people’s lives.” 

As a reward for completing BT Digital Champions activity, participating schools will receive free tickets for the popular end-of-term pop concert, Rock Assembly 2013, which takes place at Wembley Arena, on Wednesday 10 July 2013. This year the concert will be hosted by BBC Radio One DJ, Nihal, with acts including Wretch 32, X-Factor's Misha B, Roll Deep, and The Other Tribe announced so far. 

Amy Leonard, chief executive of The Transformation Trust said: "As a children's charity our mission is to offer enriching activities that will help students to build confidence and develop new skills which are valued in the workplace. We are hugely impressed by the efforts of students and teachers who are giving their time to help others through the BT Digital Champions programme and look forward to celebrating their success at Rock Assembly 2013." 

To find out more about the BT Digital Champions programme and how schools can receive free tickets for Rock Assembly 2013, in association with BT, visit www.btdigitalchampions.com


About BT Digital Champions 
• Each student taking part in BT Digital Champions will volunteer to spend at least one hour with someone in their local community helping them to get online, for example using the internet, email, Google or YouTube. 
• The programme aims to recruit 10,000 BT Digital Champions in secondary schools across the country. 
• The programme offers an excellent opportunity for young people to use their digital experience to help others. It also offers benefits to schools, linking to the Ofsted framework, with an emphasis on SMSC (spiritual, moral, social, cultural), RWCM (reading, writing, communication, maths), and preparing young people for future education, employment or training. 
• The initiative helps instil civic responsibility in young people and build community links. It is an ideal volunteering activity for courses such as the International Baccalaureate. 
• The programme is flexible and schools can decide how and when to run the training sessions. Students can spend their own time training a family member or friend as a homework activity, or schools can organise group training sessions. 
• All students that complete the activity will receive a certificate for their Record of Achievement and a BT Digital Champions wristband. 
• As a reward for completing BT Digital Champions activity, the Transformation Trust is offering free tickets for the most glamorous end-of-term pop concert, Rock Assembly 2013, in association with BT, which takes place at Wembley Arena, on Wednesday 10 July 2013. The event also features a Futures Fair including a university and careers village to inspire young people and showcase educational and career opportunities. Past acts include Tinchy Stryder, Diversity, The Saturdays and The Wanted, and demand for tickets has been high with a waiting list in the thousands. 
• Teachers are invited to register for the programme by registering at www.btdigitalchampions.com and pledging students as BT Digital Champions. Full resources are supplied and support may also be available from BT employee volunteers. Rock Assembly 2013, in association with BT concert tickets are allocated on a first come, first served basis. 

About BT’s Better Future programme 
Better Future is BT’s commitment to use the power of communications to improve lives and ways of doing business – without it costing the earth. BT has set itself three goals to achieve by 2020 which will help it to grow sustainably, especially in new emerging markets. The goals focus on connecting people digitally (‘Connected Society’), using our skills and technology to help society support good causes (‘Improving Lives’), and ensuring BT makes a net positive contribution to the environment (‘Net Good’). They are rooted in what BT does best – bringing together our networks and technology with the expertise of our people to make a better world. Being a responsible and sustainable business leader is one of BT’s six strategic priorities for growth. For further information, visit www.bt.com/betterfuture. 

About The Transformation Trust 
The Transformation Trust is an independent children’s charity that funds extra-curricular activities in schools in some of the most challenged parts of the country. 
Since our launch in May 2009, we have supported a range of opportunities and experiences designed to help young people to fulfil their potential. Our mission is to ensure the enriching activities, which many children are fortunate enough to enjoy thanks to their background and the schools they attend, are within the reach of all young people. We aim to help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds develop new skills, grow in confidence, learn to work as a team, and discover hidden talents and interests. The activities are genuinely fun – the sorts of things young people want to stay behind after school to take part in – but they also help equip them with core skills, such as numeracy, communication and technological fluency, which are valued in the workplace and will stay with them for the rest of their lives. 
Funded entirely through the support of the private sector, The Transformation Trust works with high-quality third sector organisations whose programmes can make a difference to the lives – and futures – of young people who need that extra help. For more information please visit www.transformationtrust.org.uk