The MashUp Academy develops creativity, personal and professional leadership, and technology (including techthinking) skills in students from underprivileged communities. Based on a start-up creation model, the Academy works with students who are less likely to be exposed to related jobs and less likely to leave school with skills that will see them in such jobs. The MashUp Academy is essentially an enrichment program that exists outside the regular school day. It will fill in the creativity/entrepreneur piece missing from traditional education, and extend this particularly to students who need an extra push over some of their peers to connect to the best opportunities in future job market: by visualizing themselves in it!
Pillars of MashUp include:
• Diversification: MashUp contributes to connecting a generation of young people from non-Dutch backgrounds (currently, while this program is only in the Netherlands) and from more marginalized communities with leading software and tech companies, StartUps, agencies, and other tech-related industries.
• Skills (21st Century) and connections : MashUp students create real connections with people working in tech. This helps them climb an invisible barrier that otherwise makes it difficult to know what jobs are available, what skills sets are needed, and most importantly, the ability to network into these jobs.
• Innovation: MashUp provides hands-on experience with fostering innovation and the creative thinking processes behind it (Agile, etc)
• Scalability and relevance: MashUp is creating real-time curriculum with companies with the goal of being able to roll out the program to other schools and communities, particularly where those companies and their partners operate.
How did Alternatives 4 Children help?
A4C funds were used to pilot the project at the Comenius Lyceum in Nieuw West, Amsterdam. Development and implementation of the project was funded by A4C and by The Atlassian Foundation, which matched the A4C funds.
A4C allowed Stichting Reckoning to try out a new idea. It was a good idea and MU was even one of the top 100 finalists in the TEDx award in Amsterdam the year before. We learned that technology in schools is largely underserved and the skill sets the students are learning are largely out of date and will not prepare them well for future jobs. We also confirmed that most students aren’t even aware of the jobs they can get in the tech circles and unaware of the many businesses, start ups and corporations right here in Amsterdam where they could potentially work and earn a really good living. The most rewarding result was when 2 of the students put their hand up and asked “what do I have to do to get a job here?”