“We have worked so hard. And we have achieved,” said one triumphant young person after the presentation that concluded a two-day digital workshop run by Tomorrow Today during the school holidays.

Twenty-one young people had taken the opportunity to help create a digital solution to a local community issue.

The issue chosen by the group – with input from nearly 500 local students via classroom voting – was the lack of entertainment for young people. “It’s hard to find stuff to do. We need a place to go with entertainment ideas, which also has group chats and ways of connecting online,” said one young participant.

With the assistance of Sydney tech experts Seer Data and Analytics, participants created an interactive entertainment directory they named ‘FIB: Fun in Benalla’. The FIB website will showcase ‘what’s on’ for young people in Benalla, making it easy to search for local activities and providing a forum for local sports and recreation clubs and entertainment venues to advertise upcoming events.

During the two-day program participants learnt about the different aspects of software development and had the chance to chat to the Seer team about what it’s like to work in programming and coding. “There’s a high chance that the young people in this room will one-day work in software development or engineering,” said one of the Seer team.

The culmination of the project was a ‘pitch’ for the FIB website by participants to members of the community, including Benalla’s Mayor and members of the police force, sporting clubs, Council and the business community. Despite nerves, the young people pitched with confidence and conviction and received a rousing applause. They were described as “inspiring”, “passionate” and “capable”.

Community representatives had the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback to the group. This feedback will inform the final phase of the project before the website is launched in March at Tomorrow Today’s Come and Try Day.

One parent summed up the value to the young participants: “They have certainly benefitted from being part of a collective outside their friendship circle. They have grown in confidence. They have more interest in the community and their part in it.”

The Digital Project is helping Benalla’s young people to be ready for future work by developing their digital knowledge, literacy, confidence and presentation skills.  For more information, please contact Tomorrow Today’s Sally Matheson on 5762 1211.