13 August 2019
When I was a child, the most technical thing I could do was probably tuning the radio. At a push, we had the privilege of playing Pong, which connected to the TV set.
Now, kids have access to an unimaginable amount of technology. Much of this tech is more powerful than the computers that navigated the moon landing lunar module! However, it seems that the more advanced tech becomes, the less able to tinker with it kids are.
Tablets, phones and computers are expensive. So young people are fed content and games to play with, but are less likely to ask why or how it works.
This is one of the primary reasons that we launched UKFast Code Clubs. These sessions in our labs give children the chance to learn about the code that goes into making the games they are playing on their devices, and to create their own.
For a few years, we’ve been running Code Club sessions and we’re now a ‘Star’ accredited Code Club provider. Whilst I am proud of the fact that we have been able to run these sessions for the children of the UKFast team, we have recently made them more widely accessible by opening them up to the community.
Now anyone can register for the sessions, which are free, and every single one is fully booked up.
When we talk about the skills gap, we are looking at the immediate need. Instead if you step back, you can start to see the pipeline of talented young people who are passionate about technology. They are working their way through education and joining the workforce. Sparking an interest in the early years and giving children a chance to get hands-on with the technology is absolutely essential to create more programmers, developers etc later down the line.
It would be easy as a business leader to dismiss this and believe that it is the school’s responsibility to teach children coding. That is impossible. We’ve found that when you take young people out of the environment where they are forced to spend every day, they open up to being more creative and wanting to learn. Through our work with schools, we’ve also learned that they have a finite amount of resource. Often that doesn’t stretch to technology. We’ve seen first-hand that there are children learning to code with pencil and paper, without even touching a computer!
So these Code Clubs bridge that gap to some extent. We are running weekly sessions throughout the summer holidays. It gives me real hope for the future of the digital and technology industries, seeing these young people passionate about learning how the tech works and how they can change it to meet their needs. In just a few years they could well be the Mark Zuckerbergs, Sheryl Sandbergs and Jack Dorseys of the future.
Email the UKFast team to register a space in one of our code club sessions, or to find out more.