Ex footballer's charity to launch project to help Oldham's young people

Young people in Oldham will be able to benefit from a new digital skills project, which a former England and Manchester United footballer's charity is set to launch soon.

It is due to be launched in the next couple of weeks by the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, in partnership with the Oldham Opportunity Area, Oldham Council and the Department for Education, and supported by BT Skills for Tomorrow.

The project will focus on providing youngsters throughout the borough with digital and personal development skills through online courses, training and mentoring activity over the summer period, with more activity to be announced in early autumn.

It will be delivered using digital methods in response to the coronavirus restrictions still in place. 

Youngsters will be given access to support, training and accredited qualifications to prepare them for further education and employment.

The project will offer access to mentors from the digital sector and industry events to support young people into meaningful careers that utilise digital and tech skills.

It will also support participants to gain crucial work experience and enter traineeships and employment through employers in Oldham and across Greater Manchester.

Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council, said: "Many young people will be worrying about the future at the moment, so this announcement is great news. Oldham is brimming with talent looking for an opportunity to show itself, and it’s fantastic that the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and BT have recognised that.

"Oldham has huge potential in digital and technology. This project will help make sure our young people are equipped with the skills and experience to take digital and tech business in Oldham to the next level."

Gary Stannett, CEO of the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, said: "It is widely acknowledged that the economic impact of Covid-19 will impact young people more than most in terms of employment, career prospects and social mobility in the coming years.

"This partnership demonstrates a commitment by all partners to support young people in Oldham to access real careers in one of the fastest growing business sectors, and one where there is an acknowledged skills gap, in the digital and tech industries.

"We at the Rio Ferdinand Foundation are proud to be playing our part in this programme, and to bring our work into another part of Greater Manchester." 

More information on the work of the project will be released in the next few weeks.

Ferdinand set up his foundation in 2012 so he could have a closer relationship with his charitable work and tackle social issues important to him. It uses sports, media and the creative arts to engage, support and provide a pathway for youth development and employability.

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