A couple weeks ago, in our first instalment of Tuesday's Tech4Good series, my colleague shared her walk thru Christel House India, a Dell YouthConnect partner. Similarly, I have had the chance to spend some time with another Dell YouthConnect partner in the UK called Apps for Good. Apps for Good is a course where young people learn to create imaginative mobile apps that change their world. It's designed to increase entrepreneurial and problem-solving skills and inspire the next generation to use technology to tackle real social problems.
I'd like to introduce you all to Justis Justin whose recent participation in this program has inspired him to pursue a career that allows him to continue solving social challenges in his community. Read his story below.
Justis Justin, 24
Having left my job as a payment clerk in the public sector I was unemployed, doing a part-time IT course, when I found out about Apps for Good.
Being a Smartphone user, I had often found myself thinking "is there an app for that?" I could see that apps were the way forward. I've always been really into gadgets and business – so an opportunity to combine technology and business skills in an eight week course seemed ideal for me. I had heard of other courses but none were as eye catching as this one and I was at a point in my life where I was feeling disillusioned and needed a new challenge.
I was particularly attracted to Apps for Good because I could see that the nature of the course allows you to think creatively while gaining skills and knowledge that are directly applicable to real, working environments. But the main thing that caught my eye was the tagline: "Solving real life issues in your community," as I am a great believer in karma…
On arrival, we were greeted by friendly mentors who put us all at ease and were passionate about concerns that we may have had about the course. No day was ever the same. Among other things, we were taught and encouraged to think from different perspectives in order to make the app we were to develop feasible, and eliminate any problems with our product early on so that we didn't have further challenges down the line.
It's hard to narrow down the best aspect of the course, as I feel that the course offers a great deal in such a small space of time. We learned so many "on-the-job" skills and we've been given a lot of after-course support to help get into the fields of work that we are each individually interested in.
I feel like I'm a lot better equipped for a job now, and Apps for Good has opened my eyes up to many different aspects of business which I had never considered before, like social enterprise for example. The nature of the course encourages an entrepreneurial mindset, and I have much more confidence and experience now in constructing impactful presentations and presenting them to large audiences at public speaking engagements. Through the course, I've also been given the opportunity to network with so many influential people, something I wouldn't have had the chance to do before and something that doesn't usually happen on your average course. Some of the people I've met have been really inspirational.
My plan now is to use all the skills that I've learned to develop other app ideas which could both benefit society and also be profitable. Before the course, I was more self-cantered in terms of career progression, but now I'm more focused on trying to benefit society at the same time. I feel that there is a lot of opportunity in this area -there are lots of social issues that could be aided by apps. I already have a list of apps that I'd like to create in the future, which I'll do. In the meantime, I am using the skills and confidence I've gained to get back into full-time employment.
Visit dell.com/youthconnect, to learn more about this program. As a reminder, we're accepting applications for the Dell YouthConnect program in the U.S., and we hope to find more amazing partners who inspire young people to use technology for Good.
Follow us on Twitter at @Dell4Good.