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In search of the next Zuckerberg

10 March 2014

  • SDS press release

Young Scots to get the chance to learn the secrets of computer coding

Young people across Scotland are to get the chance to learn the skills that propelled the founders of Facebook, Google and Twitter to global success, it was announced today.

CoderDojo Scotland, with support from Skills Development Scotland (SDS), are rolling out coding clubs across the country in a bid to get more young people trained in this skill that remains a mystery to many despite growing global demand.

It is just one of a range of activities aimed at encouraging more young people to consider a career in the ICT and digital technologies sector, which is worth more than £3 billion a year to the Scottish economy, employs more than 73,000 people and offers salaries far above the national average.

CoderDojo Scotland, which offers the extra-curricular clubs to 12 to 17-year-olds, will receive a £35,000 grant from the Scottish Government to recruit a project officer who will oversee the expansion in their programme.

With a particular focus on encouraging greater female involvement and developing skills in digitally excluded communities, more than 150 young people a month are already getting the chance to learn coding."

Aileen Campbell, Minister for Children and Young People, made the announcement while attending a CoderDojo Scotland workshop at Glasgow Science Centre, as part of the Scottish Government's 'Make Young People Your Business Week'.

Ms Campbell said: "It's fantastic to see young people getting involved in coding. Developing coding skills is an important route to employment in an increasingly digital age where such skills are in high demand by employers.

"We want to attract new talent to this sector and it's encouraging that young people are so enthusiastic to learn more about coding by attending the CoderDojo clubs. This continued funding for the clubs means more young girls and boys will get the opportunity to learn more about this area of work and will complement the ICT and computing science learning that they will receive in school.

"It's particularly timely that this additional funding announcement is being made during our Make Young People Your Business in Digital Technologies week. This is part of our campaign to promote to employers the business benefits of recruiting young people and growing their talent in one of the most important growth sectors in the Scottish economy."

CoderDojo Scotland Project Manager, Craig Steele, said:

"The activity so far has resulted in 279 young people being engaged in over 2,000 hours of digital making activity, and we are pleased to be able to expand this into the next year.

"Developing coding skills is an important route to employment, as individuals with programming skills continue to be in high demand from ICT and digital employers, as well as employers in sectors such as financial services, which need individuals with high level programming skills."

At today's event, pupils from Govan High School and Bearsden Academy got to grips with the fundamentals of computer programming, working with industry-trained mentors.

Claire Gillespie, ICT/Digital Technologies Sector Manager at SDS, said:

"Coding is such an important skill for young people to learn as programmers are in high demand by employers and this is expected to continue. It is so good to see it being introduced at such an early age as it is great way to inspire the future talent which will support the growth ambition of the sector."

"There is a growing appetite for after school coding clubs and we can't wait to see these exciting clubs begin to develop, further nurturing Scotland's pipeline of future digital talent.

CoderDojo is backed by Glasgow City of Science, which promotes Scotland as a world-class science and technology destination.  Glasgow City of Science also helps to promote science, technology, engineering and maths which is important recognition of how these disciplines are linked and that areas like coding can cut across them all.

Dr Susie Mitchell, Programme Director at Glasgow City of Science, said:

"This additional support will help to widen access to coding clubs across the country and allow more children and young people to develop and harness vital digital skills.

"Coding is an exciting, enlightening and empowering skill, which can enable young digital maker's to develop digital technologies, like computer apps, to tackle real-world problems and improve quality of life.

"Critically, these skills are highly valuable to employers and underpin a range key industry sectors from ICT and digital to health and life sciences, engineering and financial services."

Glasgow Science Centre, and its Chief Executive Stephen Breslin, were instrumental in propelling CoderDojo Scotland forward and will continue to support Craig, a Glasgow Science Centre employee, with his expansion.

ENDS

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Fiona Riddell, External Communications

Tel: 0300 013 4392 or fiona.riddell@sds.co.uk

www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

NOTE TO EDITORS:

At February 2014, a total of nine clubs are active in Glasgow (x2), Edinburgh (x3), Dundee, Livingston, Stirling and Inverclyde.

For more information on a career in the ICT sector visit: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/the-it-industry

For more information on Make Young People Your Business Week visit: www.ourskillsforce.co.uk/recruit/make-young-people-your-business

For more information on CoderDojo Scotland, visit: www.coderdojoscotland.com