By Richard Rolfe, co-founder of National Coding Week
September is associated with learning since it’s the start of the new academic year. This association doesn’t normally extend beyond our children heading back into the classroom, however, and many won’t have stepped foot in school since they left aged 18. But this September, adults are being given an opportunity to enter their local school or college once again to learn something new – coding.
Following the success of our launch year in 2014 we have recently announced that National Coding Week will take place once again from 21 – 27 September 2015. National Coding Week enables those who work in the tech industry, or who have dabbled in coding themselves, to share some of their knowledge with those with no experience, by taking part in a fun and interactive week.
I co-founded National Coding Week last year after discovering that there wasn’t anything in place which the whole country could get involved in. More specifically – there wasn’t an event that was aimed at getting adults as well as children into coding. Events will be held right across the UK – from a one-to-one lesson with a neighbour, to a free to attend lecture at a city university – but we need more educators to get involved to make sure the event reaches as many people as possible. It has been fantastic to see the government get behind helping children to learn coding, but this doesn’t change the problem we have right now.
The UK currently has a digital economy worth £180 billion but we could do so much more if we had enough people with the right skills to fill the gaps. There are lots of people who aren’t currently in work who could fill these roles given the right training. Similarly, thousands of others would love the chance to try something new or embark on a complete career change.
This is at the heart of National Coding Week. From my own experience, establishing a coding training consultancy following a long career in teaching, I know that it only takes a bit of training for someone with no prior coding skills to get hooked! All that’s required is someone with the right expertise to pass on what they know to someone willing and open to learning, and you have someone who is employable in an exciting and growing industry.
Despite the introduction of coding into the teaching curriculum, it’s likely that many of you will probably still be asking – what on earth is coding and why do we need it? It is these questions that National Coding Week answers by giving everyone a chance to have a go themselves. I also understand that there is a fear of things we don’t understand – there’s nothing worse than parents feeling they are out of their depth with homework and technology. National Coding Week is a perfect opportunity to reach out to those parents and empower them to get them involved and excited by this new subject too.
But this also is an opportunity that extends beyond students and their parents. National Coding Week is a chance to reach out to individuals right across the community – old or young – and teach them that it’s never too late to learn a new skill. Despite all the talk of skills shortages, the main aim of the week is to have fun. Maybe you could hold a workshop at school where the children teach the parents, maybe parents can teach teachers! It’s completely up to you.
So, how can you help us? If you have the skills, share them, if not then reach out to those who do and host an event for the whole community to get involved with.
National Coding Week 2015 runs from 21 – 27 September. Find out more by visiting the National Coding Week website.