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‘We need to give our children different skills to arm them for their future’ - Norfolk mother encouraging improved technology teaching for children and teenagers

PUBLISHED: 16:00 18 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:29 19 March 2017

James Livesey, 13, with his mother Claire Riseborough at the TEDx NorwichED Inspiring Generations event. Picture: Sophie Wyllie.

James Livesey, 13, with his mother Claire Riseborough at the TEDx NorwichED Inspiring Generations event. Picture: Sophie Wyllie.

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An enterprising mother is calling for schools to focus on technology to prepare youngsters for the future job market.

Claire Riseborough, 41, from Trowse, who started the Young Makers Tech Club in Norwich and social enterprise online forum Step Into Tech, was part of an independent event run alongside the one-day TEDxNorwichED Inspiring Generations conference today in The Space venue.

She was inspired to encourage the teaching of digital code to children and teenagers after her now 13-year-old son, James Livesey, showed an interest in her home computer aged five.

Ms Riseborough said: “I’m not sure schools are doing enough to allow young people to embrace technology.

“There is this wilderness in terms of teaching digital skills and schools need to step up and teach them to help young people.

“I would say to anyone out there, support and embrace those kids showing talent in coding because these people could potentially be helping to keep our country safe in the future. They could be running businesses.”

She added: “As parents we are given mixed messages that too much screen time is bad and are warned about cyberbullying. But we have to navigate this world instead of putting our heads in the sand.”

She set up the Young Makers Tech Club, which is held every two weeks mostly in the Millennium Library at the Forum in Norwich, as a social gathering for youngsters aged eight-18 and their parents.

“We need to give our children different skills to arm them for their future including creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration,” Ms Riseborough added.

Her social enterprise forum, Step Into Tech, will signpost young people and their parents interested in computer code to competitions and groups.

It will also provide advice about online safety.

Her 13-year-old, who studies at Langley at Taverham Hall School and has ambitions to be a technology entrepreneur, can use 12 computer languages and is self-taught after watching an online tutorial video aged six.

He said: “I was initially intrigued by Microsoft Powerpoint and tried to decode it.”

The TEDxNorwichED, on Roundtree Way, was held to inspire education in Norfolk and attracted hundreds of people including teachers.

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