Are you a student looking to boost your digital skills and give back to your local community? Then we want you to become a volunteer for Code Club!
You don’t need to have any existing computer programming knowledge to start a Code Club. In fact, volunteering with us is a great way to gain new experience which will look great on your CV – and have fun doing it!
But don’t just take our word for it, Chris Jones is a student from Portsmouth University who volunteered with us, read more about his Code Club experience below…
I decided to take part in Code Club as I was looking for something to do alongside my Software Engineering course at university. I felt Code Club was an excellent opportunity to broaden my skills and gain new experiences, while also volunteering in a subject I am familiar with, and feel confident to teach to younger children.
What stood out to me was that Code Club’s projects allow the children to be creative in what they are making, while they are learning new skills.
Starting the club
I started the club in November 2015 with another student volunteer at a local primary school. The club was attended by 30 children in total, who were all keen to do more in programming. The classes we taught ranged from year 3 to year 6, so some pupils had a lot more practice with Scratch than others. Once we realised this, we encouraged the older children to teach their younger peers. This meant that those more experienced were learning how to share their skills by helping others.
Code Club fitted into my schedule easily – I would be at Code Club once a week, for an hour and a half. The timing worked well for me, it ensured that running the club didn’t feel like an inconvenience while also at university trying to meet deadlines. The school I volunteered at was also considerate of us being at university, and were aware that we would need to stop for exam period and had no problem with it.
The benefits of Code Club
Code Club is an excellent way to build programming skills for children from a young age, giving them the opportunity to build other skills through programming. By learning through play and experimentation in an informal environment after-school, children begin to think differently about computers and technology.
Volunteering at the club introduced me to new experiences, which I would not have found in a lecture room. For example, the varying interests of the children meant that I had to work to keep them all interested and involved throughout the club. I wanted to ensure that they left the club feeling that coding was something they wanted to pursue in the future. Code Club also gave me a chance to develop my own skills away from university, and to give more variety in my weekly schedule.
After a couple of months of running the Code Club as a volunteer at the school, one child asked me to look at a piece of code which they had been working on at home, which they had thought of all by themselves. I was happy to look at this and was excited to see what they had done. Then I realised the amount of code that was there: this child, who had started the club as a beginner in coding, had written around 1000 lines of code that were too complex for me to fully assess in the club time!
Interested to get involved? Find out more about starting a Code Club on our website.
If you’re looking to host a Code Club in your school, library or community centre, you can read what it’s like to run a club with help from student volunteers here.