The transformative power of the internet is found in every corner of the world. It defines our generation, and is inspiring the next, in ways we are only just beginning to imagine.

That is why we want to take people further, to fuel their imaginations and empower them to realize their full potential. With our new flagship community program, Digital Imagination, we are harnessing connectivity by teaching future leaders, sparking positive change and accelerating digital innovation to bring benefits to communities and society.

Teaching and developing digital skills amongst working professionals is a major part of this process, ensuring they keep pace with today’s competitive jobs market.

But the need to teach digital skills to the younger generation is just as crucial. The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, a multi-stakeholder partnership aimed at creating a talent pipeline for jobs, of which Liberty Global is a member, is predicting that by 2020 there could be more than 825,000 unfilled tech vacancies across Europe.

This need has driven our partnership with the CoderDojo Foundation, a global community of free coding clubs for children aged 7 to 17. Our support for CoderDojo is enabling the next generation of creators, improving their long-term career prospects. As well as coding, our partnership teaches vital skills such as problem-solving, and introduces young people to STEM (science & technology, engineering and math) subjects in a fun, practical way.

That is also why Virgin Media Ireland and Liberty Global are proud sponsors of the popular CoderDojo Coolest Projects Awards, which took place in Dublin on Saturday June 18th. Now in its fourth year, the event gives members of local coding clubs the opportunity to showcase the skills they gain from their local coding sessions.

But we believe that learning coding skills is not enough; it’s what you do with those skills that really counts. This year we established the Future Makers Awards, actively encouraging young people to use their newly-acquired coding skills to come up with digital solutions to society’s most pressing challenges. Judging was difficult as there were many inspirational projects being exhibited, but after much deliberation we were proud to select a winner and two runners-up for our 2016 Future Makers Awards.

Jasper Brezina Conniffe won for his low-cost phone, Everyfone. The genius of his idea was that the phone costs only several Euros to produce and does not require a network, therefore making it ideal for use in developing countries.

The runners-up were Timothy McGrath, who developed obstacle-avoiding sensor glasses for the blind called Pi Vision, and Shane Fahy, whose Flood Gauge alerts homeowners and communities about potential floods.

Jasper, Timothy and Shane were chosen because of the way they used digital innovation to improve people lives, something that goes to the heart of our Connected Purpose strategy – empowering positive change through digital.

The Future Makers Awards is part of Liberty Global’s new flagship program, Digital Imagination, a collective movement to create digital solutions that respond to urgent societal challenges.