Tech club Step Into Tech aims to help develop the programmers of the future
- Credit: Claire Riseborough
From Raspberry Pis to Python coding, a new venture is aiming to give tech-savvy youngsters a chance to develop the skills which could help fill the jobs of the future.
Step Into Tech is poised to launch next month and will bring together eight to 18-year-olds to learn, play and discuss ideas with peers with similar interests.
The Norwich-based community interest company was founded by Claire Riseborough after she struggled to find a social outlet for her son James, 13, to explore his interest in technology with children of his own age, and comes on the back of government reports highlighting national digital skills shortages.
She said: 'It was hard to find a club or any activity that would suit his level and at the same time give him the environment to meet new friends.
'I think it is fairly clear that James is on the path to a career in tech and there is a need for me as a parent to understand more about what opportunities there are in the sector because if parents and teachers don't understand the diverse world of technology then we won't be able to point children in the right direction and support them.'
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The sessions include freestyle experimentation, talks from members of the region's tech community, as well as show and tell sessions to share projects.
Step Into Tech, together with The Forum, has organised Raspberry Jam events which show youngsters the basics of programming using the Raspberry Pi computer system.
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Another aspect of the project is to help equip people with the skills needed in the industry.
In 2016 a government report highlighted a shortage of digital skills and the UK Commission for Employment & Skills has pointed to a difficulty in filling 43% of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) vacancies.
Ms Riseborough said: 'It is great that schools are teaching coding to primary school age pupils.
'It means they can see technology as a tool to be creative and that can lead to an exciting career as well. There is a tech skills shortage and there are so many opportunities out there. So many businesses are being disrupted by technology. If someone goes into a job with a knowledge of technology it puts them a step ahead.'
Step Into Tech launches at The Ideas Factory, Norwich, at 6pm on Tuesday, September 12.