Celebration as Tynecastle Innovation Center hosts first DataKirk graduation

Most Saturdays at Tynecastle Park are usually buzzing with activity as Hearts prepare for another Premiership clash. However, over the past weekend the stadium played host to another exciting event.

50 young people were recognized at the Hearts Innovation Center on Saturday as part of a graduation ceremony for a pioneering skills course led by DataKirk, the club’s official digital education partner.

The course aims to engage people from both migratory and disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds and introduce them to vital digital skills.

Participants are taught the basics of programming and coding while also learning about topics such as artificial intelligence and how they can protect their personal data and stay safe online.

So far, the course has proven to be a marked success, enabling graduates to build self-confidence and develop crucial skills that will help them as they enter the world of work.

DataKirk’s Chuks Ododo said the social enterprise has empowered more than 180 individuals through the data literacy club for young learners. The course has also provided valuable upskilling and reskilling opportunities for adults and created over 60 volunteering opportunities.

He said: “The DataKirk has partnered with Hearts since 2019. Through the relationship, DataKirk was provided with laptops for our learners, a venue to hold our weekly session at Tynecastle Park and content to inspire our learners.

“Hearts has provided amazing support that has enabled our charity to get off the ground, to engage with young learners and adults and to build a strong community of volunteers and mentors.”

Ododo added: “Together with Hearts, we are closing the data divide, contributing to the talent pool in Scotland and getting more people from BAME communities to fully participate in the data economy.

“The team at Hearts has been outstanding, providing great encouragement, facilities, practical guidance as well as connecting us with potential employers and using the power of football to help engage our young learners.”


Ann Park, Hearts’ Director of Community & Partnership, commented: “Our partnership with the DataKirk is vital in our aim to equip young people from a diverse range of backgrounds to participate in Scotland’s burgeoning digital economy.

“This cohort of graduates are to be commended for their dedication to learning during some of the most challenging times of the pandemic.

“It has been wonderful to welcome learners back to Tynecastle Park and we look forward to contributing to the continued growth and success of such an inspiring charity.”

In addition to supporting coursework and hosting sessions in the Innovation Center, the partnership with Hearts is also bearing fruit by linking graduates with potential employers.

The celebration on Saturday was sponsored by Hearts Innovation Center and Stellar Omada, an important club sponsor and one of Scotland’s fastest growing IT services company.

Stellar Omada revealed it is already recruiting from the DataKirk talent pool and is investing time and funds in supporting the growth of free Digital Education programs at Tynecastle.

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