Ballymoney pupils win tech trip to San Francisco

  • Two pupils from Dalriada School in Ballymoney jetted to San Francisco on Saturday, after winning the Digital DNA Futures competition in June with their new app, Age Engage.

    Noah Paterson and Daniel Price competed with over 1,000 other year 10 and 11 pupils at the annual competition. Their app, Age Engage aims to help combat the effects of loneliness amongst the elderly, a societal issue that is becoming increasingly discussed with the elderly population rising.

    During the trip, Noah and Daniel will get the chance to meet leaders from the world’s top tech brands including Instagram, Uber, Nextdoor and Salesforce. They will also spend time at the world renowned DSchool at Stanford University.

    Now in its seventh year, Digital DNA’s Futures programme is held in partnership with Sentinus, a Northern Ireland-based charity promoting STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). It is also supported by Irish airline Aer Lingus and global outsourcing specialists Concentrix.

    Digital DNA says the programme is aimed at inspiring the next generation on the possibilities that digital technology provides. Over eight weeks, young people are introduced to the fundamentals of digital technology, receive a crash-course in coding and a brainstorming session to solve or embrace a real-world social or business problem or opportunity.

    Speaking ahead of the trip, Digital DNA CEO Simon Bailie said “Over the years, we have been very fortunate to have forged some amazing connections within the world's leading tech companies. Inspiring our next generation is an important element of what we do at Digital DNA and with the generous support of our partners at Aer Lingus and Concentrix, I am delighted that we can once again bring an amazing group of young people to the global centre of technology.”

    Bill Connor, CEO of Sentinus said “Digital DNA Futures provides opportunities for students of all ages to develop digital skills, innovate, create solutions and develop ideas born out of personal, societal or business need. It is essential not to underestimate the innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities of our young people and this programme represents an investment in Northern Ireland’s future.”

    Philip Cassidy, VP at Concentrix, explained why it is important for Concentrix to be involved, “We are delighted to be able to support young people from our community starting out on their digital journeys. We believe that our young people are key to continuing these types of innovative developments and want to support them getting exposure to the best of the best.”

    Andrea Hunter, Leisure Manager Ireland & UK with Aer Lingus also added: “We’re delighted to support Digital DNA’s Futures programme and to welcome the deserving winners Noah Paterson and Daniel Price on board. We very much encourage innovation within our own business in terms of continuing to improve our guest experience and product offering and it’s encouraging to see the talent coming through at school level. We know for Noah and Daniel this is a trip to remember and we will ensure the excitement begins the second they step on board their Aer Lingus flight.”

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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