GM Technology Fund: The Opportunity

29th April 2020, 1:15 pm

Purpose: Greater Manchester Combined Authority are co-ordinating industry action and calling upon the strengths of businesses to help us address digital exclusion and the digital skills and opportunity gaps for young people in Greater Manchester, which has been further heightened by the impact of COVID-19.

We request your kind support to provide young people in Greater Manchester with the opportunity and connectivity they need to stay engaged in education and remain socially connected throughout the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, and importantly, to ensure they are not left at risk of further isolation and vulnerability.

This is part of a wider set of local initiatives to ensure GM does not have a “lost cohort” of young learners. The Technology Fund supports Greater Manchester’s bold commitment to provide essential digital skills to everyone and ensure that young people have equality of opportunity and to strengthen the digital talent pipeline. This fund is further supported by Greater Manchester’s wider skills programmes of work to address digital inclusion in schools and industry and gaps in the digital talent pipeline amongst diverse groups and businesses within the region.


GM Technology Fund

The Need: Across GM 10% of people haven’t been online in the last 3 months and in Salford alone there are 2000 families without access to digital kit or the internet. The GM Technology fund has been established by GMCA in partnership with Virgin Media and the wider business community as a direct response to digital and therefore social exclusion, as well as a bigger ambition to address inequality of opportunities through schools. The fund will complement and add value to the offer from DfE, which will provide laptops for disadvantaged year 10s and other vulnerable pupils.

With your help, this fund will provide Schools and Colleges across Greater Manchester with the digital kit required to access online learning applications, lessons and resources while young people are unable to attend school because of the lockdown. Targeting those digitally excluded young people in low income families outside of Y10 not served by the national scheme.

The ambition is to support 1800 young people across GM to be digitally included. GMCA have invested £250,000 and are looking to raise £250,000 from the private sector.

We ask that businesses join us to deliver this scheme by supporting with:

  • Devices: Donations of new or refurbished devices, particularly laptops
  • Connectivity: Donations of sim cards, portable hotspots, dongles & other connectivity
  • Financial donations: To support the expansion of the fund and potential procurement

To take advantage of the Technology Fund offer schools will be required to register their interest and articulation of need by completing an online questionnaire. The kit will be provided to schools directly to manage, secure and distribute to the young learners they prioritise as having the highest need. Schools are encouraged to repurpose devices to other young learners once a student has finished with it.

To offer support please contact [email protected]

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