Glasgow City of Science, working with CoderDojo Scotland, has launched a new project to upskill 100 less-advantaged and harder to reach young people in digital making using Raspberry Pi computers.
The project, named Digital Makers, launches today (Thursday 28 August). 100 participants have been recruited through the NHS Health Improvement Network and will take part in the project – the first of its kind in Scotland.
Digital Making is a term used to describe the process where, rather than simply consuming digital content through games, apps and websites, young people develop the skills to create their own.
Funded by the Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland as part of a £6.6million investment in the sector by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership; Digital Makers will run a series of one-day master classes for 14-17 year-olds. The master class attendees will use a Raspberry Pi to learn how to code, as well as create websites, apps, programs and games in correlation with the rapidly evolving digital world. The 100 young participants will take their digital learning back to their communities and cascade their new skills to up to 1000 peers. Each participant will keep their Pi at the end of the project – so they can continue their digital making journey.
The master classes will be run by Glasgow Science Centre staff and supported by 30 volunteer mentors recruited from the global investment bank, J.P. Morgan. The master classes will provide participants with the necessary coding skills for real world applications and let them see how coding can be used in projects encompassing areas such as the arts, sports, and community interests.
To ensure project legacy, the coding activity will link to a formal technology qualification and the 30 mentors will be trained as STEM ambassadors – a national group of volunteers who encourage school pupils to take an interest in science and technology-related education. The project will support a recent decline in the numbers and skills levels of the students applying to read Computer Science.
Dr Susie Mitchell, programme director at Glasgow City of Science said: “This is an excellent opportunity for Glasgow City of Science partners to work together to help young people across Glasgow to learn skills that will help them access employment opportunities across public and private sectors.
“Not only that, it’s a great chance for the young people to develop work readiness skills, meet like-minded peers and create friendships. Glasgow City of Science is proud to facilitate a project that helps young people develop the necessary skills to help them get ahead.”
Claire Gillespie, ICT and Digital Technologies Sector Manager at Skills Development Scotland (SDS) said: “The exciting project forms part of SDS’s Skills Investment Plan which has a series of objectives including getting more people to consider a career in the sector. “Giving young people the chance to learn new digital skills and build career awareness will help drive the growth of the sector in Scotland, and enhance the nation’s reputation in the global marketplace.
“With there being unprecedented demand across the world for digital technologies, learning these skills at a young age could be the passport to a fulfilling and rewarding career.”
Dr Stephen Breslin, chief executive officer at Glasgow Science Centre said: “Now more than ever, we need to ensure that our young people have the skills and confidence not only to use digital technologies, but to create with digital technologies. The Digital Makers project aims to do just that, to equip young people with these essential skills and in doing so empower them to lead happy, productive lives.”
Denise Tarrier, head of Philanthropy at J.P Morgan Glasgow said: “J.P. Morgan is delighted to be supporting this innovative and engaging initiative helping to develop Scotland’s next digital generation.
“Our Technology Centre in Glasgow has a rich source of highly skilled technical experts and 30 of our employees will mentor and inspire the young people in their digital path of discovery. J.P. Morgan believes that addressing the skills gap can be one of the most powerful tools for reducing unemployment and expanding opportunity.”
Issued on behalf of Glasgow City of Science by The BIG Partnership. Please contact Roisin McGrath for further information on 0141 333 9585/07768120285, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
Additional financial and in-kind support has come from:
- NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
- 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)