Glasgow’s digital makers showcase their skills

Glasgow is hoping that it could produce the next digital pioneer after 100 young people took part in a master class.

The city’s Digital Makers project, the first of its kind in Scotland, saw 14 to 17 year olds learn the skills to create their own websites, apps and games and use Raspberry Pi computers to code.

Participants held a showcase at Glasgow Science Centre to show off their newly acquired digital skills. They demonstrated their prowess in visual programing using Google’s “Blockly Maze,” and gave commands to a Raspberry Pi.

Glasgow City of Science worked alongside Glasgow Science Centre’s CoderDojo team to develop the project which helps young people to develop digital skills.

Many of the participants had never shown an interest in technology, or had the opportunity to get hands on with it, before the one-day master class. They will keep their Raspberry Pi computers at the end of the project so that they can continue their digital making journeys.

Dr Susie Mitchell, programme director of Glasgow City of Science said: “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 lives.

“Critically, these skills are highly valuable to employers and underpin a range key industry sectors from ICT and digital to engineering and the financial services.

“Glasgow City of Science was proud to make this inspiring education project happen by bringing together a range of public and private sector partners, from the health service to a global investment bank, to upskill our next generation of technologists.”

In Scotland there is an unprecedented demand for a skilled digital workforce. At the same time, the number of school pupils studying computing science is in decline

The master classes were run by the CoderDojo team and supported by 30 volunteer mentors recruited from global investment bank, J.P. Morgan.

The mentors were also trained as STEM Ambassadors – a national group of volunteers who encourage school pupils to take an interest in science and technology-related education.

Dr Stephen Breslin, chief executive of Glasgow Science Centre said: “The digital sector in Scotland is booming and there is an unprecedented demand for a skilled ICT and digital workforce.

“At the same time, the number of school pupils studying computing science is in decline. One in eight secondary schools in Scotland don’t have a computing specialist who can teach the coders, programmers and software developers of the future.

“It is vital that we close the skills gap, and equip our young people with the digital skills they need. Projects like Digital Makers are vital to ensure that all young people have the chance to learn these skills to take advantage of the new opportunities created in the sector.

“Our CoderDojo team was delighted to deliver the Digital Makers project and help inspire young people to discover how rewarding a career in computing science can be.”

Funded by the Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland, it is part of a £6.6m investment in the sector by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership.

Claire Gillespie, key sector manager for ICT and digital technologies at Skills Development Scotland said: “The demand for digital skills across the world has never been higher, and initiatives such as the Digital Makers project can play an important role in encouraging young people to consider the many career options available in the sector.

“In the summer, a marketing campaign will be launched to make people more aware of these opportunities, and is aimed at influencers such as parents and teachers as well as young people and those looking to change careers. “It is this joined-up approach which will cement Scotland’s place at the forefront of this growing industry.”

About Glasgow City of Science Glasgow City of Science is a multi-disciplinary partnership of over 70 organisations that aims to promote science and innovation in the Glasgow city region. Boosting STEM skills and jobs to leverage sustainable economic growth is a key objective of the partnership. www.glasgowcityofscience.com

About Glasgow Science Centre Glasgow Science Centre is a five-star visitor attraction that presents science and technology concepts in unique and inspiring ways. During 2013-14 financial year, the Science Centre had its busiest year to date as it welcomed 305,485 admissions to the Science Mall. As an educational charity, Glasgow Science Centre provides a curriculum-aligned education programme to more than 100,000 Scottish schoolchildren each year. Additional financial and in-kind support has come from:

  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Young Scot
  • Glasgow Science Centre
  • J.P. Morgan
  • STEMNET/Science Connects
  • CoderDojo Foundation in association with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Google
  • The Skills Qualification Authority (SQA)
  • Glasgow City Council
  • DRC Youth Project, Yoker; DRC Generations, Scotstoun; New Rhythms for Glasgow, Springburn; Carmyle Youth Club; Platform, Easterhouse; Youth Access, Glasgow Kelvin College, Easterhouse; Maryhill Carers Group; North West Carers Centre.
  • ENABLE; Residential Social Work Glasgow; Multiple Treatment Foster Care, Glasgow

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