Working alongside Glasgow City Council and Skills Development Scotland, RookieOven is giving 16-18 year olds from Glasgow the chance to take part in its first pioneering Academy programme, during which they will devise creative digital product ideas and turn them into the foundations of a solid business.

Students will be learning from some of the brightest minds in the RookieOven community, as well as some of the most prominent leaders in Scottish tech start-ups. Ashley Baxter, founder of Insurance by Jack, Cally Russell, CEO of Mallzee, and Rohan Gunatillake, creator of Mindfulness Everywhere, will be among the entrepreneurs sharing their top tips, imparting advice and providing inspiration to the young people.

The Academy is the brainchild of Michael Hayes, founder of the RookieOven co-working space and co-founder of Add Jam, a mobile and web app development agency. Michael was inspired to create the Academy by a teacher friend who went above and beyond to harness the creative talent of a student who, while gifted at graphic design, was struggling academically.

Michael Hayes says: “Our aim for The Academy is to unleash the creativity and talent of the young people taking part. We’re not necessarily looking for academic high achievers. We want young people with a natural talent who relish a challenge and have a passion for tech, design and innovation. School is often a world away from the reality of the workplace, never mind the reality of starting a digital business. We want to open their eyes and help make a difference for these young people.”

He continues: “This is an intensive learning experience that will give people real practical exposure to creating modern digital products. We want people who are ready to commit fully to taking part in The Academy and coming to every session held in RookieOven.”

Meeting weekly, the startup mentors will help the students turn their ideas into a viable and sustainable business with a valid, modern business model.

First, students will work through creative and design thinking before pulling together effective marketing and communication for the product, which will then be followed by a Demo Day, giving participants the chance to pitch their concept to a panel of industry experts.

The RookieOven Academy is backed by the Digital World campaign, an initiative to promote careers in the technology industry, which has been developed by the sector in partnership with Skills Development Scotland.

David Martin, Key Sector Manager for Creative Industries at SDS, said: “Succeeding in the modern creative marketplace requires not only core creative skills but a blend of business and digital skills as well.

“The RookieOven Academy reflects this, and forms part of the action plan stemming from the Skills Plan for Scotland’s Creative Industries published last year.

“Initiatives such as this can help Scotland develop and retain a talent pool that will support the growth of the creative sector.”

Based at Fairfield Shipyard in Govan, RookieOven is home to businesses trading all over the world. From improving tourism in the Bahamas to making our farmers more efficient, companies in RookieOven are changing the world. And the people doing it are some of the brightest in the country, making it an inspirational atmosphere for learning about the digital world.

The five-week programme will run weekly on Tuesday evenings from 31 May to 28 June with the Demo Day for investors and business people on 1 July.

Places at the Academy are limited to a maximum of 16 participants and applications are open via the RookieOven website until 3 May 2016. Apply here:




Glasgow City Council

Skills Development Scotland

Digital World