Northern Ireland takes the lead in Digital Skills education

Published: 09/11/2017, 9:00am
Northern Ireland takes the lead in Digital Skills education
Pictured (left to right): Education Minister, Peter Weir congratulates CCEA CEO Justin Edwards on winning the 2016 UK Digital Skills Award.

Local education body CCEA has received high level recognition for the development of a 'Digital Skills Framework' for schools in Northern Ireland. The organisation has just been announced as winners of the prestigious O2 UK Digital Skills Award for 2016.

Since the Framework’s inception in 2014, CCEA has coordinated software companies in working with primary school teachers to help them teach coding, developed bespoke industry backed qualifications in Software Systems Design and Digital Technology, and in conjunction with local Further Education providers, introduced an annual coding initiative for women.

CCEA Chief Executive Officer Justin Edwards commented:

"We’re delighted to win this award because it allows us to highlight the excellent work going on in our schools and the contribution local employers are making in supporting teachers and developing new qualifications.

Digital skills are starting to penetrate every aspect of employment and, as a result, young people are increasingly more likely to need good digital skills. Being able to use digital devices, like an iPad or an Android tablet, is not going to be enough to gain some forms of employment in the future. In fact, being able to use devices will be the basic standard required in any future employment.

Increasingly young people will need to learn how to build things with digital devices. They will need to be able to programme or code and they will need to think logically and solve problems with different digital products. They will all need to become digital makers and workers.

This is why CCEA has been building a digital skills framework. Our framework is attempting to integrate digital skills across the education system, building thinking skills into the process of learning about digital devices and creating qualifications that are unique to Northern Ireland."

Congratulating CCEA on their award, Education Minister Peter Weir said:

"This is a significant award and is evidence of the work CCEA has taken forward to deliver on my vision for a 'Digital Skills Revolution'. I want to enable young people to become digital citizens, digital workers and digital makers.

Employers tell us they need young people who are literate and numerate - these skills underpin ICT expertise. Developing that expertise is vital if we are to build a world class education system and compete in the global market.

Technology can help ensure that all pupils, regardless of age or geographical location, have access to the same high quality tools to support teaching and learning and the C2k service provides this level playing field for all our pupils."

The O2 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards celebrate innovation, success and leadership in the UK’s digitally transformed economy. The awards are the UK’s prime showcase - the Oscars - for the best in next generation digital innovation.

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