Workplace visits inspire young coders into a career in IT

Northern Ireland’s largest IT company Allstate NI are facilitating four workplace visits for primary school pupils as part of Business in the Community’s Time to Code programme.

The visits will take place at the company’s Springtown Business Park office site on Northland Road and will host pupils taking part in Time to Code, from schools across the Western Education area, Drumachose Primary School, St Eithne’s Primary School, Ebrington Primary and St Colmcille’s Primary School.

The Time to Code programme, run in partnership with Code Club and supported by the Department of Education, aims to help children at Key Stage 2 gain IT and coding skills, build their confidence, and develop their team working and problem solving abilities.

Weekly in-school coding sessions are facilitated by volunteers currently working in the IT sector, with eight volunteers from Allstate NI supporting the programme across four schools. A total of eight schools have benefited from the programme across the North West with businesses such as Fujitsu, Computershare, Learning Pool and BT providing volunteers to facilitate sessions.

As part of the programme, supporting companies are asked to host a workplace visit to allow pupils to gain insight into a career in IT.

Sarah Quinn, Programme Manager, Business in the Community, explains: “In today’s digital age, IT literacy is so important. Young people are growing up surrounded by technology, but many still lack the basic IT skills that future jobs will demand.

“Through facilitating Time to Code, organisations like Allstate NI are helping us to inspire young people to develop skills in this area and the workplace visits are key in helping pupils visualise themselves in a career in IT further down the line”.

Allstate NI have also supported the programme through covering the cost of printed materials and buses, taking pressure of stretched school budgets.

John Healy, Managing Director, Allstate NI, said: “Coding is very important when you think about the future, it teaches children the creativity and problem-solving skills that are necessary for success.  Allstate are proud supporters of Business in the Community’s Time to Code programme over the years.  The programme has been a huge success for both the children involved and our employees who volunteered to facilitate them.  We look forward to continuing this work and inspiring the technologists of the future.”

If your business would like to get involved in Time to Code, or Business in the Community’s other education programmes, please email sarah.quinn@www.bitcni.org.uk or call (028) 7186 1550.