Spark Foundation to Partner with Digital Natives Academy

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Spark Foundation’s new partnerships boost skills needed for a digital future

Spark Foundation today announced three new partnerships with Code Club Aotearoa, Digital Natives Academy and 21C Skills Lab aimed at helping young New Zealanders to successfully navigate their digital futures.

Spark Foundation is the charitable arm of Spark New Zealand. Each year Spark gives the foundation a grant to distribute amongst community social good organisations with a focus on digital enablement and education.

In an age of rapid technological progress, it’s imperative young people gain the necessary skills to be able to succeed at school and in the new work reality.

These new partnerships exemplify Spark Foundation’s vision that no young New Zealander gets left behind in the digital world.

Spark Foundation Lead Kate Thomas said we’re excited to partner with Code Club Aotearoa, Digital Natives Academy and 21C Skills Lab as they all share the Foundation’s vision.

“We are facing an era where current business models are being disrupted and digital innovation is happening at pace. As a Foundation, we don’t want to see any young New Zealander left behind in this evolving digital world. We believe every young New Zealander deserves to have the opportunities to learn the skills needed to thrive in the modern digital economy,” Ms. Thomas adds.

“The purpose of these partnerships is to be the catalyst for change that creates a lasting impact; working alongside organisations to create and scale programmes that inspire kids to build the skills and capabilities now required.”

The partnerships follow the end of the Spark Foundation’s five-year commitment to Manaiakalani Education Trust and the development of Givealittle to become a largely self-funding platform. Givealittle is owned and operated by the Spark Foundation, which has grown to become a household name as New Zealand’s crowdfunding platform for social good.

Code Club Aotearoa is a nationwide network of volunteer-led coding clubs for kiwi kids aged 9-13 years old. It’s a fun way for children to learn computer programming and software design. The Code Club wants to grow the number of code clubs around New Zealand and give every kiwi kid the opportunity to learn to code, no matter who they are or where they live.

Code Club Aotearoa, General Manager, Michael Trengrove said: “We’re delighted to have Spark Foundation as a partner helping us towards our core mission of growing a digitally literate nation. With Spark Foundation’s support we’re now able to increase our focus on communities that have been under represented on the Code Club map. More kiwi kids than ever will now have the opportunity to learn the digital skills that can lift them to take their place as digital citizens in a globally connected world.”

Digital Natives Academy (DNA) Charitable Trust was established in 2014 to inspire young people and their families to create, transform, shape and develop their own digital tools.

DNA is a living digital hub where tamariki can learn code, rangatahi can join eSports leagues, whanau can integrate virtual tikanga and kids of all ages can access the latest tech in a safe environment.

Digital Natives Academy Co-Founder Potaua Biasiny-Tule said the partnership is set to ignite the next generation of digital leaders in Rotorua.

“What’s exciting about this innovative partnership is the ability to co-design and co-build a series of digital hubs across the country, forming the basis of a connected smart network, all based on the youthful energy of gaming, animation, robotics, drones and embedded culture. DNA is also about fun, and we love that the Spark Foundation love fun too. So together we look forward to the exciting digital journey ahead. Kia kokiri tatau!

21C Skills Lab Co-Director Justine Munro said: “21C Skills Lab is thrilled to be working with the Spark Foundation to bring the Like a Boss programme (L.A.B) to Aotearoa secondary schools. L.A.B is a new Kiwi-developed programme specially designed to help young Kiwis build skills for the 21st Century.”

21C Skills Lab will be developing and launching the $20 Boss programme across 30 schools in 2019 with a goal of equipping kids with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a rapidly changing world of work.

The Like A Boss programme (L.A.B) is an exciting opportunity for secondary school students to build their own people or planet focused business and develop 21C skills along the way. Each student is given $20 of start-up capital and the tools to create, launch and operate their own venture allowing them to make a difference in and outside of the classroom.

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