A virtual coding club has been launched in Scotland to build young people’s technical skills and boost their potential for roles in the advanced manufacturing sector.

The programme, which is a collaboration between Fife College and tech company Raytheon UK, redefines how students in the region can learn coding, engage with computer science, solve problems and express themselves creatively.

The coding club teaches participants how to use Raspberry Pi microcomputers – low cost, credit-card sized devices that plug into a computer monitor or TV, and are used with a standard keyboard and mouse.

The machines, which have strong programming capabilities and great usability for learning-stage coders, provide significant potential to enhance production line operations and open up new activities.

Raytheon UK’s site in Glenrothes employs over 500 people, providing various exciting and innovative opportunities in the technology, engineering, and manufacturing industries while Raytheon Technologies in Scotland contributes around £187 million a year to the local economy.

The partnership with Fife College marks another significant step in Raytheon UK’s commitment to promoting STEM – science, technology, engineering, mathematics – learning across Scotland and the rest of the UK to equip the younger generation with valuable skills.

Earlier this year, the organisation donated 114 Raspberry Pi micro computer starter kits to secondary schools and air cadets across Fife.

John Gallagher, managing director, Scotland at Raytheon UK: “Developing the technical skills of tomorrow’s workforce is an incredibly important focus for us, and this new coding club, with its focus on programming through Raspberry Pi devices, is a huge step in delivering on this.

“The programming ability of these devices opens up endless possibilities for production activities as we transition towards Industry 4.0 levels of manufacturing, and we will follow the progress of these students closely.

“The initiative is a key component in our long-term commitment to train and re-skill the UK workforce, and in our work with the UK and Scottish Governments to help rebalance the economy and rebuild after Covid-19 through our Raytheon Forward Steps CSR programme.

“We fully believe in our responsibility to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians so they can play a role in building a Scotland for the future.”

Stewart McDonald, the faculty director of digital and creative industries at Fife College said: “At Fife College we’re doing all we can to help inspire the next generation of technology experts. We take our role in helping to tackle the current digital skills gap seriously, and our partnership with Raytheon is an important part of our work in this area.

“We have a fantastic talent pipeline here in Fife, and by deepening their understanding of coding and programming languages we’re hopeful we can encourage more to consider a career in the sector. This is a really exciting time to be in the industry, and anyone interested in working in it should get in touch with us.”