A COMPUTER hardware student is in line for a prestigious award after designing an app to help people communicate.

In In the Press, News, on the 22nd, November 2016

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Darlington College IT student Olivia Reynolds came up with the idea for Socialmoda for anyone who struggles to socialise and can’t access traditional help such as Children and Adolescents Mental Health or Talking Changes therapy services.

The initiative has secured a place in the finals of the Federation of Small Businesses Student Awards, due to be staged on Thursday (Nov 24) at the National Glass Centre, Sunderland.

Olivia, who is studying a Level 3 qualification in system support and networking, is developing the app with the help of tutors at Darlington College.

The 17-year-old former Richmond School student, of Downholme, Swaledale, has been challenged herself with chronic shyness and witnessed others who struggle to socialise and sometimes fall prey to the bullies.

Socialmoda will give people instant access to a range of virtual help, advice and support complete with voice synthesis and interactive mood board.

“If you haven’t got a human friend then you can have a virtual one,” she said. “I have struggled with shyness since primary school and being at Darlington College has really helped me socially and made my family very proud.

“I am a bit nervous about the awards ceremony but excited too and looking forward to going with my dad Peter and step-mum Kirsty.”

Bishop Auckland-born, Olivia developed her interest in IT while studying media at Richmond School and using her computer skills to produce games magazine covers.

“I was also interested in cyber-security and, as I had quite a bit of experience on web development and the software side, decided to study hardware,” she said.

Darlington College enterprise tutor Josh Spears added: “IT is an incredible tool which can help people with a host of issues. It is great to see Olivia using her skills to such good effect in designing an app to help others deal with an area she feels passionately about.

“Even reaching the final of this prestigious contest is an amazing achievement and recognition she thoroughly deserves.”

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.


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