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Teenage tech outreach programme launched

8 Jun 2018
An innovative and ambitious programme for young people interested in technology and the digital world, has been launched with support from Belfast City Council. 
 
Digital Futures, organised by Digital DNA, is a programme which assists 40 teenagers aged 16 – 18 years old in realising their potential and the opportunities available to them within the digital and tech sectors, as well as encouraging them to make a positive impact in their community. 
 
Taking place during the biggest technology gathering in Northern Ireland, the upcoming Digital DNA conference in St George’s Market on 19-20 June, the programme will bring together some of tech’s most inspiring leaders to showcase the opportunities available in the sector. 
 
Digital Futures will also aim to develop the candidates’ leadership and entrepreneurial skills and will explore career opportunities, build community cohesion and civic activism, as well as promote safe online practices. 
 
Conor Houston, Head of Engagement for Digital DNA, said:
“The importance of technology in today’s world is continually highlighted – and rightly so. It is something that can bring people from the corners of the earth closer together and has allowed advancements that would have been incomprehensible a couple of years ago. The digital and tech world has been able to bring an incredible wealth of opportunities right to the doorsteps of our young people. 
 
“It’s through our Digital Futures programme that we will help empower these young people to realise their potential and make a positive impact in their community. We’re incredibly excited to be involved in creating such a diverse and impactful programme for young people, no matter what background they’re from.”
 
Councillor Aileen Graham, Deputy Chair of Belfast City Council's City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said:
"Belfast City Council is delighted to be supporting Digital Futures and offering young people an opportunity to get more closely involved in a hi-tech future. Part of our Belfast Agenda is to ensure our people of all ages are adaptable and able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by new technology and it is exciting to be hosting this showcase in the city."
 
Launched at PwC’s Google Hive – the first of its kind in Europe – the programme will allow its attendees to meet with VIP tech individuals as well as have the opportunity to pitch for the chance to win even bigger tech-orientated prizes. 
 
Simon Boyd, Sales and Marketing at PwC, said:
“Technology is accelerating the pace of change and 85 per cent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. Digital Futures is intended to help young people gain an understanding of this digital world and to help them develop the collaboration, team-working and creative skills to become enthusiastic and tech-savvy citizens of the future.”
 
The Digital Futures programme is principally supported by the Counter Extremism Project in New York, as well as being supported by the Housing Executive and Belfast City Council. 
 
David Ibsen, Executive Director, Counter Extremism Project, said:
"We’re excited to support Digital DNA and the Digital Futures programme. Technology has been successful at connecting people but unfortunately, it is also a medium that can be misused to spread hate and violence. If we really want to empower young people in a positive manner, we need to make sure they can do so in a secure environment. Through our work identifying and flagging harmful content online and Digital DNA’s work engaging communities, I believe this can be achieved."
 
Claire Crainey, Head of Income & Neighbourhoods at the Housing Executive, said:
“We are very pleased to support Digital DNA in their creation of the Digital Futures programme. Young people who are part of this programme will be given a unique opportunity to learn about the tech industry, explore potential study options and in the long term, possibly pursue their career in the sector. We are always supportive of any initiative that allows young people from Housing Executive areas to develop new skills and follow their ambition.”

DNAtechwithCllrGraham