Scottish 'tech army' to play central role in fight against coronavirus

Scotland’s software development community has formed a Scottish “tech army” in the battle to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

A new community platform has been created that will link technically skilled volunteers to critical coronavirus projects. Picture: Andrew Neil
A new community platform has been created that will link technically skilled volunteers to critical coronavirus projects. Picture: Andrew Neil

A new community platform has been created that will link technically skilled volunteers to critical coronavirus projects.

The Scottish Tech Army aims to tap into the tech sector experts who are staying at home but who cannot work for their companies because they have been furloughed or may have already lost their jobs. Instead, their skills and experience will be harnessed to support public sector organisations that are developing digital projects to help tackle the outbreak of the virus and the management of the recovery process.

CivTech, a Scottish Government programme, is to play a central role in finding Covid-19 related projects that require help. The Scottish Tech Army will then work with recruitment firms and senior figures from within the digital technology community to find volunteers with the right skills to solve those problems.

The Scottish Tech Army project has been co-founded by Edinburgh-based entrepreneurs Alistair Forbes and Peter Jaco.

Forbes, formerly head of software and internet at Mercia Technologies, said: “Scotland’s tech community is ready to join this fight. 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.”

Paul Atkinson, founder of recruitment firm Head Resourcing, which is supporting the Scottish Tech Army, added: “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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