The Dryden Project, which aims to tackle digital poverty in Southey Green, aims to create opportunities for young people to learn valuable tech skills and develop rewarding careers.
The scheme was set up to provide low-cost, safe internet access to 360 homes on the Dryden council estate to improve access to public services online and empower people to lift themselves out of poverty.
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It is being led by the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation, a local charity, and the youth and community services provider SY-NC (Sheffield Youth Neighbourhoods and Communities) with support from a number of people and organisations.
Pine Media, a Sheffield-based internet service provider, is installing a full-fibre network at the estate and is creating a number of roles for trainee field services technicians. They will work under the supervision of experienced technicians, running cables, fixing blockages and developing skills in fibre-optic engineering.
The trainees will work towards becoming qualified technicians in a sector with a skills shortage and a growing demand for experienced workers.
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Ben Charig, strategy and planning manager at Pine Media, said: “We are looking for people with practical problem-solving skills, resourcefulness and the ability to work as team players, keep their wits about them and maintain a safe and tidy workplace.
“Our industry is growing and internet service providers are generally struggling to recruit and retain good people. Fibre will be around for decades and will need maintenance.”
Technology entrepreneur David Richards, co-founder of the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation said: “The Dryden project will empower people to lift themselves out of poverty by providing a low-cost and safe way into the digital world, opening up opportunities for education and employment, improving access to public services and providing a portal for useful and trustworthy information.
“We need ambitious young people from the estate to help us build and maintain the new network and encourage anyone who is interested to get in touch. It could launch new tech careers and lead to new company startups in Southey Green.”
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