A survey conducted by WaveMaker showed that people between the age of 18 and 24 have the keenest interest in coding and hacking, with 12% choosing this skill above all others, including learning a foreign language or playing a musical instrument.
To address the growing need reflected by the survey, WaveMaker will create a creative space in Stoke-on-Trent for the makers and coders of the city, where people with a passion for technology can get together, exchange ideas and work on exciting projects.
“To find out which technologies young people in Stoke-on-Trent want to learn more about, we organised two days of taster sessions at the Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley in February,” explained Benedict McManus, creative director of bITjAM and the initiator of the WaveMaker project.
“The success of the event exceeded even our most optimistic expectations. Hundreds of people of all ages, including countless school children, took part in workshops on creative coding, music making, Minecraft, smart materials, virtual reality, LEDs, astrophysics and more.
“The WaveMaker survey and taster sessions both validated our gut feeling that young people in Stoke want to do more than just play games or go on social media,” continued McManus. “They want to understand the basic principles of technology and learn how to manipulate it and create something original, useful and fun.”
“The most amazing thing about coding and hacking is that it opens the door to so many more skills – it allows you to understand engineering, art, design and science better. It teaches your mind to focus and solve problems.”
“What we really want to achieve with WaveMaker is to open young people’s minds to a whole array of science and technology topics and let them create their own experiments – choosing their own superpowers.”
The WaveMaker project is sponsored by Comic Relief, Nominet and Robbie Williams’ Give it Sum fund. The organising consortium behind the WaveMaker project is made up of Stoke-on-Trent tech companies and education providers bITjAM, Potteries Hackspace, Staffordshire University and the Unity Foundation.