Start-up ‘Tech Resort’ has launched, a venture in Eastbourne which aims to develop digital talent among local young people and help teachers in the area prepare for the new computing curriculum due to be introduced in September.
The ‘community interest company’ is supporting projects such as ‘Tech Resort Teens’, a fortnightly coding club on Saturday mornings designed to teach young people programming skills.
Roughly 25 kids attend every session and the sessions are vastly over-subscribed, with a waiting list of those hoping to attend.
However co-founder and Eastbourne resident Will Callaghan was keen to emphasise that the skills required go “way beyond coding”.
He said: “We want to encourage a whole range of skills, including UXD [user experience design], product management, service design, and so on.”
The venture also hopes to link into formal education, be it primary, secondary or further. To that end, it is working to help support both primary and secondary school teachers as they prepare for the new computing curriculum when it arrives next month.
For example, Tech Resort supported a half day course for teachers to help develop their technical skills in programming and give them some insight into the requirements in the new curriculum.
Tech Resort has been granted a small amount of money from the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) but the founders are seeking funding from elsewhere too. The code club and teachers project was funded by Artswork Ltd.
According to Callaghan, the code club has a ratio of roughly 30:70 girls to boys at the moment.
However, he said: “We want to change that and bring it closer to 50:50. As part of that, we’ve been speaking to girls groups such as the Guides.”
Regarding the location of Eastbourne, Callaghan told ComputerworldUK: “Brighton is bigger, but Eastbourne has a few interesting companies and is in a great location, close to Brighton and London.
“The kids can grow the skills base and eventually the digital industry here too. By linking together local businesses and schools, we’re also helping the education system to understand what industry needs.”
He added: "There are lots of people giving up their time to make this happen. Our hats are off to Donna Pratty who secured the Artswork funding and launched the code club. Also Dr Aiden Delaney and the University of Brighton for their great work on the technical side, and many volunteer mentors who've given up their weekends to help."
Photographs of a recent ‘Tech Resort Teens’ session can be viewed here.
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