Celebrating the coders of the future

Volunteers, schools and businesses gathered at Belfast Harbour Office in Belfast on Thursday 18 January to celebrate the successful completion of Business in the Community’s first children’s coding programme, Time to Code.

Business in the Community celebrates the completion of children’s coding pilot programme

Volunteers, schools and businesses gathered at Belfast Harbour Office in Belfast on Thursday 18 January to celebrate the successful completion of Business in the Community’s first children’s coding programme, Time to Code.

Time to Code, run in partnership with Code Club, is a volunteering programme designed to help children at Key Stage 2 gain IT and coding skills, build their confidence, and develop their team working and problem solving abilities. The pilot programme, which started in schools in September 2017, was supported by Belfast Harbour in the Greater Belfast area, and BT in the North West.

Ciara Mulgrew, Programme Executive, Business in the Community, explains: “With the support of 51 volunteers, we’ve helped more than 530 children develop the basics of coding through our Time to Code pilot programme.

“The pilot has been really well received by children, teachers and volunteers alike. The results have been extremely encouraging – we’ve seen a 59% increase in pupils stating they would like a job using coding in future. In today’s digital age, IT literacy is so important and we are delighted that this programme has gone some way in helping to equip the workforce of the future with the skills they will need to succeed.”

Volunteers took part from a range of organisations including Allstate, Allen & Overy, ARRIS, Big Pixel Creative, Fujitsu, HM Revenue and Customs, Invest NI, Phoenix Natural Gas and St Mary’s University College.

There were eight Primary Schools involved in the Greater Belfast area including Elmgrove; Forge Integrated; Mercy; Our Lady Queen of Peace; Seaview; St Joseph’s; St Teresa’s and Taughmonagh.

Jenni Barkley, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager, Belfast Harbour added: “We are thrilled to be involved with Time to Code. Tech literacy is vital in the modern workplace and it is critical that children are taught skills like coding from an early age. It’s no longer just ‘digital’ jobs that require tech skills, and we need to ensure the next generation are ‘work-ready’. We are delighted with the success of the pilot, and we look forward to seeing the programme rolled out on a wider scale in the coming years.”

Would your business like to get more involved in education, or would you like to volunteer for the next phase of Time to Code? If so, please e-mail ciara.mulgrew@www.bitcni.org.uk or call (028) 8046 0606.