Addressing digital inequality in Livingston

Tuesday 24 January 2023

On 24th January 2023, we were delighted to open our brand-new Sky Up Digital Hub at local social enterprise Spark’s base in Livingston, Craigshill.

The branded hub includes a newly refurbished digital suite, with five workstations equipped with laptops and iPads, editing equipment and Wi-Fi and a break-out, café area with a Sky Glass TV and package and coffee machine.

Spark intends to offer placements in digital training, including filmmaking and editing, of up to six months to prepare local people for a broad range of jobs, including roles in the media and entertainment industry.

The collaboration is planned to improve employability in the area by delivering core skills, particularly to under 25s or over 50s.

Spark’s CEO Alex Fleming said: “For young people, who are digital natives, the prospect of a six-month placement, where they will learn additional digital and employability skills, will be exciting and popular. Sky already delivers our six-week, computer basics programme, which we offer to members, and this investment has cemented that relationship. We are now talking to them about doing a more advanced programme for those who have already grasped the basics and are looking to move onto the next level. This partnership is a vote of confidence, not only in Spark, but in the potential of Craigshill. The possibilities for development in that relationship are really exciting.”

From the outset, Spark informed Sky of its track record of making a positive impact in the local area, and the potential to deliver effective digital training programmes in the future.

Alex said: “I see this as a symbiotic relationship because, if we can support local people to grow their skills and their confidence, we are equipping them for the world of work, and Sky is a big employer in this area. We would hope that people we have trained could then be in a position to apply for roles that Sky will need filled in the future.”

Nicola Oritis, Head of Communities, Sky said: “Sky is delighted to have partnered with Spark to launch a Sky Up Digital Hub in Craigshill. Our partnership will support the local community to succeed in a digital age, ensuring that those who are most at risk of being digitally excluded are given access to the right skills, technology, and connectivity. Empowering people to learn the digital skills they need can build confidence and help them reach their full potential. At Sky, we act as a force for good in local communities and as a media and entertainment company, we know first-hand the impact that connectivity and digital inclusion can have on people’s lives. Craigshill is one of 100 Sky Up Digital Hubs that we will be supporting by the end of 2025 as part of our wider Sky Up programme, and we look forward to working with Spark and other partners to continue this vital work.”

You can read more about Sky Up and our digital hubs here.