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Scottish Tech Army: free digital help & advice during COVID-19

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Entrepreneur Peter Jaco, co-founder of the Scottish Tech Army explains how his volunteer force of technologist can help charities and public sector organisations with any coronavirus-related challenges they might be facing – free of charge.

When Alistair Forbes and I launched the Scottish Tech Army (STA) on 28 April, we had no idea it would grow so big or so fast. We now have a rapid response army of over 700 highly skilled furloughed or out of work technologists who have volunteered their time to support charities, local authorities, and the Scottish Government. Many of these organisations are facing a number of technological problems during these challenging times, and the STA can help.

As a not for profit company, STA wanted to harness the world-class tech skills we have in Scotland to support people and organisations in the front line of fighting the coronavirus. For instance, many charities might have furloughed their technical staff or have problems accessing databases or communicating with donors and the people that benefit from their services. The STA can give these organisations the resources and skills they need now, as well as during the post-pandemic economic recovery.

So, if you are working for an organisation that needs some digital or technological help, the STA would love to hear from you. We have a very easy process: just get in touch via our website to tell us more about your project. We will then arrange for one of our business analysts to call you back for more details to see if it is an appropriate project for them. If we both agree to go ahead, STA will put together a team of technologists to help you build your project.

The STA have already got over 25 projects up and running both for Scottish charities and central Government. For instance, we are helping small businesses and charities to get online so they can keep trading during this period. We are looking at building apps that can help volunteers deliver services to the vulnerable, and we are supporting Argyll and Bute Council on a tourism project.

Another example is Get2gether, a charity that arranges safe-environment social activities for disabled people in Edinburgh and Lothians. They had problems with their website, which STA volunteers were able to sort out for them. Get2gether events co-ordinator Mojca Becaj said:

“Wow, I am impressed. These STA guys are magicians, they fixed our website overnight and offered to help with any other tech problems we might have.”

If you are a technologist reading this and want to volunteer your skills, we would welcome your help.

For many people in the STA who have offered to volunteer, these projects are giving them a sense of purpose and achievement in these challenging times. We want to help STA volunteers to keep their skills fresh while developing new ones and build a network of like-minded people across Scotland.

Our aim is to help Scottish organisations that have been hit by coronavirus technology challenges while also helping the many STA volunteers return to the workforce as soon as possible.

We know that sometimes technology can be a bit daunting, but we’re a friendly bunch and are very happy to have a chat with you. So, if you need help, get in touch with us.

To find out more about how the STA can help with your project or how to volunteer for the Tech Army, go to www.scottishtecharmy.org

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