Volunteer Story: Chris Hayhurst

Here at Code Club we appreciate the effort and enthusiasm of our many fantastic volunteers and so every month we are going to ask one of them to blog about their experiences. Next up is Chris Hayhurst.

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My name is Chris Hayhurst and I manage the consulting group within MathWorks, an international company providing software for engineers and scientists.I first programmed a computer when I was 10 years old when the ZX81 was released and have been programming ever since.

I now run the Code Club at St Paul’s Primary School in Cambridge and am about to start my 3rd term there.

I have two young children and have seen first hand how they have access to so much technology but always as a user rather than as a designer. It is such a different situation to when I was a child, when home computers were just getting started and the only way to use them was to program them yourself. As such I am really keen to see the next generation of engineers get started with programming early and see how it can lead to so many different exciting opportunities.

Code Club has come along at just the right time. The primary school curriculum is changing, computing hardware and programming environments are being created to make it easy to get started with programming and young people seem excited to be part of it all.

Before I volunteered for Code Club I was already registered as a STEM Ambassador so it was really easy to get started. I contacted the Head Teacher of the school that my children attend and he was excited about Code Club and very supportive. My employer, MathWorks, is committed to education and the community and encourages all employees to invest time in this kind of activity. I also run the club before school on a Friday which means that there is actual very little disruption to my working week.

Working with 9-11 year old children has been fantastic. They are so creative and enthusiastic. Every exercise has produced a huge range of different solutions, characters and sounds. They have picked up all the ideas of programming and now see that they can be even more creative, making games and animations of their own with their new found skills.

The projects prepared by Code Club have been brilliant. The combination of really colourful, well prepared materials and the Scratch programming environment make it so easy to prepare and lead the Code Club sessions. The children are really engaged because they are creating games and it feels so different to a school lesson.

It can appear daunting to lead a group of children but it is so much easier than you might think. The materials are all prepared for you and it doesn’t take long to prepare. You can be sure that they will love every minute of it.

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If you would like to tell us your volunteer story then contact Sam, our Volunteer Support Officer: sam@codeclub.org.uk