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Hundreds of Black Country and Birmingham students champion digital skills to get local people online

Press Release   •   Jun 21, 2013 00:00 BST

Around 900 students from around the Black Country and Birmingham have signed up for the new BT Digital Champions initiative to get more local people online.Alexandra High School and Sixth Form Centre in Tipton, George Salter Academy in West Bromwich, Hodge Hill Sports and Enterprise College and Perry Beeches School, both in Birmingham, are among 14 schools in the West Midlands taking part in the scheme launched by BT in partnership with children’s charity The Transformation Trust.

The initiative is part of BT’s Better Future programme, which is a commitment to use the power of communications to improve lives and ways of doing business. The scheme is one of a number of projects that BT is running to help people get online and develop the skills and confidence to use the internet.

In total more than 1,500 students in the region have pledged to become BT Digital Champions, with around 1,000 students already actively involved.

Using the knowledge and expertise of volunteer students from local schools, BT Digital Champions builds the confidence and competence of people living in the local community to get online and get more out of life.

Each student has volunteered to help a local person get online and teach them vital skills such as surfing the internet, using email and accessing and understanding social networking sites.

Mike Cook, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: “This is a great way for young people to share their skills and knowledge with others in the communities in which they live.

“Despite the fact the internet is now an essential part of everyday life, more than seven million UK adults are still not online. This means they may miss out on employment or educational opportunities, online shopping bargains and even simple, quick access to information services such as NHS Direct.

“BT is proud to support schools that are using the power of digital connections to improve people’s lives.”

As a reward for completing BT Digital Champions activity, participating schools will receive free tickets for the popular end-of-term pop concert, Rock Assembly 2013, which takes place at Wembley Arena, on Wednesday 10 July 2013. This year the concert will be hosted by BBC Radio One DJ, Nihal, with acts including Wretch 32, X-Factor's Misha B, Roll Deep, and The Other Tribe announced so far.

Amy Leonard, chief executive of The Transformation Trust said, "As a children's charity our mission is to offer enriching activities that will help students to build confidence and develop new skills which are valued in the workplace. We are hugely impressed by the efforts of students and teachers who are giving their time to help others through the BT Digital Champions programme and look forward to celebrating their success at Rock Assembly 2013."

To find out more about the BT Digital Champions programme and how schools can receive free tickets for Rock Assembly 2013, in association with BT, visit www.btdigitalchampions.com