Residents encouraged to take part in new Duke of York award scheme

Telford and Wrekin residents are being encouraged to take part in a new award scheme which aims to equip people across the country with digital and enterprise skills.

The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award – known as iDEA - is a free online training portal that can be accessed at 

People of all ages can use resources designed to inspire them and help unlock their potential to learn, work and survive in the digital age.

It will be launched with an event of Telford College on 20 March, which will be attended by school leaders, ICT leads and key employees of the council.

Kerensa Jennings, the Director of the Duke of York Office, will also be in attendance to tell people about the programme.

The scheme has been set up because 90 per cent of new jobs in the UK require digital skills and more than 12 million adults lack them.

Similar to the Duke of Edinburgh Award, it is based on rewarding participants with badges for the efforts they put in to acquiring skills.

Each badge is worth a number of points which accumulate into awards. People will have to log in to their own personalized iDEA account and select a badge in one of four categories:

•Citizen – which teaches digital awareness, safety and ethics. 

•Worker – which teaches tool and techniques that are useful in the workplace

•Entrepreneur – which teaches how to come up with ideas and bring them to life

•Maker  – which teaches digital creativity and how to create things in a digital world

There will also soon be a Digital Council badge with training on how to access the council’s online services, by paying bills and reporting issues.

Within each category, there are a number of online training badges that take around 20 minutes to complete. Each badge is worth points and people can build up points to the iDEA bronze award – a recognized symbol of hard work, determination and skill.

In time, residents will be able to take new challenges that will unlock a Silver Award from 2018 and then the iDEA Gold Award from 2019. iDEA aspires to be the digital and enterprise equivalent of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

There will also be a Telford Online badge to click and register, which will automatically credit the user with two points towards their badge and will enable the council to record how many people in Telford are using the training portal.

Councillor Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Education and Skills, said: “The Duke of York award has been designed to maximise social impact and benefit as many people as possible to help them become economically active and get jobs.

“We are working with a number of areas across the council where participating in the programme has the potential for huge benefits such as libraries, customer services, the job box, the co—operative council team and education and corporate parenting.

“A number of these teams are creating their own badges and we feel it is an ideal time to launch this programme in Telford’s 50th year – while also celebrating the past and looking forward to the future and the opportunities this can bring our residents.

“The programme compliments the work being done with the Telford Online Digital Strategy, improving access to the council’s online services and supports the learning of digital skills.”

A report on the Duke of York Award scheme is set to be debated by the Council’s cabinet when it meets on 15 March. 

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