Last week, the Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson visited i.am College Track in California, where they were hosted by the Grammy Award winning singer, will.i.am.
The singer – born William Adams – is responsible for setting up the i.am College Track in his old neighbourhood, Boyle Heights. The College Track is a non-profit educational centre which helps students from underserved communities achieve their dreams of a college education by providing them with a comprehensive learning programme and after school tutoring. At present, it is helping 120 high school students.
The Royal visit was a part of the information exchange between the i.am College Track and iDEA. iDEA, or Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, is an award scheme which aims to support more than one million young people between the ages of 16 and 25 in their endeavours to develop a digital business. Started by the Duke of York and Nominet Trust, iDEA encourages the development of digital skills and an entrepreneurial spirit.
The initiative was launched in March this year and has since then received the support of a number of entrepreneurs, including Lily Cole, Michael Acton Smith and Nick D’Aloisio. will.i.am, who serves on the Steering Board of iDEA, strongly supports the scheme, saying: “Today, digital skills incorporating computing, coding and marketing are a baseline requirement to succeed in almost every career path. Whether a young person aspires to be a fashion designer, a doctor, a solar engineer or a musician, digital and entrepreneurial skills are essential to success”.
— iDEA (@idea_award) May 2, 2014
In the duration of the visit, the students from the programme showed Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson the forms of project-based learning designed to teach computer graphics, robotics, and Mandarin Chinese. At the end of the tour, both will.i.am and the Duke addressed the students. The Prince spoke about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills and related job opportunities, before inviting the students of i.am College Track to visit the UK and meet with the participants of iDEA, who attend Hackney Community College in London.