Digital experts join Scottish Tech Army to aid fight against COVID-19

The Scottish Tech Army was established by entrepreneurs Alistair Forbes and Peter Jaco to build a rapid reaction force against the virus.

The scheme will leverage the skills and expertise of digital experts who have either been furloughed or lost their jobs due to the market downturn.

Additionally, support has been gained from Scotland’s governmental digital programme CivTech, as well as hundreds of tech companies that have agreed to offer their services free of charge.

CivTech will help to smoothen the process of gaining access to public services, while recruitment firms and senior figures within the digital community will aid the scheme in finding volunteers to take on.

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Projects conducted under the platform will be aimed at tackling the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as managing the recovery process.

Alistair Forbes, co-founder of the Scottish Tech Army and former head of software and internet at Mercia Technologies, said: “Scotland’s tech community is ready to join this fight. Public and private sector workers – from health and social care staff through to food supply chain and logistics workers – are out there risking their lives to battle this pandemic and the Scottish Tech Army gives our digital community the chance to demonstrate that we’ve got their backs.

“Data and digital technologies are key weapons in the fight against the coronavirus, and we’ll be able to rapidly deploy the resources and skills needed to tackle the outbreak and support the people who are being affected. We see the opportunity to deliver three-way benefits – providing support to the people and organisations on the front line, delivering meaningful impact in the communities around Scotland and giving the volunteers a sense of purpose and achievement in what are very challenging times for them.

“We have had an immediate and enthusiastic response from all the organisations we have approached for help in setting up the Scottish Tech Army, including leading professionals from the legal, recruitment and communications sectors, as well as the Scottish Government.”

Paul Atkinson, founder of supporting recruitment firm Head Resourcing, commented: “Staying at home to save lives is exactly what we need to do during this outbreak – but there are better ways to spend our time than just playing Call of Duty or binging on Netflix boxsets.

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“The Scottish Tech Army will not only help the public sector to complete vital projects, but will also give participants the chance to keep their skills sharp for when it’s time to return to work.

“When you’re in a fight, you don’t want your top people sitting in their bedrooms playing computer games or vegetating on the sofa in front of the television – you want them putting their digital skills to good use, and that’s exactly what the Scottish Tech Army will do.”


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.