First club in the Channel Islands!

_MG_7527INDULGETwelve children at Amherst Primary School in Guernsey are taking part in a Code Club run by local digital agency Indulge Media. The development team at Indulge take it in turns to teach weekly coding classes which began in September at the start of the school year.

Director Russell Isabelle said: “We decided to get involved with Code Club because we believe that by generating interest in the possibilities of computer sciences from an early age, we can inspire the next generation to take an active role in innovation and creating technology instead of simply teaching them how to use it.

“As an employer in the digital industry it is difficult to find local individuals with the skills we require. Although technology plays an increasingly dominant role in modern society, the current ICT curriculum still revolves around basic computer use – there is very little emphasis on how to actually design or create. Coding and programming is behind everything we do on computers and the internet and we think students should be given a taste of what they have the potential to create.

“It is highly rewarding for our team to watch children respond positively and use computers in this way. Code Club is great and we would encourage other creative agencies, who might be able to deliver this opportunity to other schools across the island, to get involved.”

Amherst Primary School Headteacher Tracey Moore thinks the initiative is an ideal way to get the children thinking more deeply about technology at a crucial age. “The response we have had from students has been incredibly positive and it’s great to see them engaging with a new skill outside of the standard curriculum. The Indulge team have been brilliant at engaging with the children and we hope that we will be able to offer more students the same opportunity in years to come.”

Business Stories: Morgan Stanley and dotMailer

Lots of schools and other venues want to have a Code Club but can’t find a volunteer. Behind the scenes Team Code Club are working very hard to recruit new volunteers and one of the ways we’re going about this is by speaking to businesses and getting them to give their employees time out of work to volunteer. Two companies who are working hard on this at the moment are Morgan Stanley and dotMailer. We asked them why they’re getting behind Code Club and how it impacts on their staff and their local community.

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Simon Holden, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley

I am an MD in Tech and Data at Morgan Stanley, a US global investment bank employing over 14,000 technologists worldwide.

Our graduate intake is key to maintaining innovation and fresh ideas in the Firm but in the UK we are being challenged by declining numbers taking computer science at university and in particular the number of girls taking it up.

We are very supportive of Code Club’s mission to show young children how fun and exciting programming can be and have a number of staff now in the process of setting up Code Clubs. We are also partnering with CAS to help develop material and mentor teachers in preparing for the new Computing Curriculum. We have an internal group of around sixty staff who are now working on various initiatives related to Code Club and the new curriculum.

We believe that the new curriculum and the excitement generated about the subject by groups such as Code Club should provide a real boost to the subject in the UK and eventually to the industry. In addition, our staff who are working on these initiatives are finding it a very rewarding experience.

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Simon Bird, CTO and founder of dotMailer

I am CTO and founder of dotMailer, an Email Marketing company whose platform is used by 1000’s of companies to market to their customers and prospects.

I support Code Club because I was lucky enough to have a father who was into computers when I was 8 who taught me to code in basic and once taught me binary when I was in the bath. All children of that age should have access to technology and guidance to learn to program because it’s just too an important skill not to.

We have around 150 staff and we have said to all of them that they can have the time off paid to run a Code Club on a weekday afternoon. So far we have had about 5 running clubs with many more considering it.

We also support the Croydon Tech city movement whose manifesto is to get all 150 Croydon primary schools running code clubs within the next few years. We also help with printing out of work books etc for Croydon Code Club volunteers.

We are encouraging this activity because of the feel good factor. We think it’s very positive for staff to feel that they are contributing positively to society and it’s great to be able to provide that platform for them to be able to do it. Longer term we hope to benefit from more qualified technical staff coming into the business. However that is very long term!

It is great to see innovations like Code Club and the Raspberry Pi coming out of the UK.

If you’re a business that’d like to help out Code Club then get in touch with Laura, our Growth Captain: laura@codeclub.org.uk