Google, CodeAcademy and Mozilla back UK efforts to combat digital skills gap fears

Iniatives are springing up across the country in an effort to skill up the future generations of digital workers amid industry concerns of a skills gap crisis without increased investment into developing the workforce.

From the youth to the even younger, efforts are underway to make students more digitally aware, with a particular focus on coding emerging for the lower age ranges.

For digital marketers a free week long summer school course begins on 24 June in London, developed by the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing and sponsored by Hallam Internet and Ogilvy, offering industry expertise on digital disciplines.

CEO of Hallam Internet, Susan Hallam, will teach an SEO element of the course and said it was time to combat negativity towards the creative industries.

"I'm a firm believer in the value of students and am delighted to be part of this fantastic educational opportunity," she said. "Too often these days we here negativity toward university courses which teach the arts, including marketing. But it is often the students of these courses that display the kind of smart, critical thinking you need to succeed in today's job market."

The course is a particularly good opportunity for young people interested in industry finding it more difficult to break into the industry and who might struggle to go down the university fees path.

Another UK initiative is achieving success having just celebrated its first birthday with a spin off global launch helping youngsters aged between nine and 11 learn fundamental coding skills at an early age. Code Club provides project materials and a volunteer framework to provide after school coding clubs.

The first year of the project has prompted a global launch supported by Google, CodeAcademy and Mozilla, in an effort to introduce coding as a school age language children should be learning.

Alison Cutler, pre-university CS education outreach at Google, said: "With technology increasingly defining how we perceive and interact with the workd around us, there has never been a more urgent need for talented computer scientists.

"For children everywhere to have an opportunity to become creator - and not just consumers - of tomorrow's innovations, we think it's vital to expand access to computer science education that inspires and engages children from an early age."

In May, education secretary Michael Gove said it would be "impossible" for people to consider themselves educated in years to come unless they had an understanding of technology and highlighted the importance of teaching young people coding and programming skills.

Web developer Patrick Welfringer, who will be closely involved in the launch of Code Club World in Luxembourg, said the initiative was important in tackling the issue.

"Code Club is an ideal solution to the three main issues we encounter when trying to address the code literacy problem," he explained. "By providing volunteers and a proven curriculum for after school workshops, they come to the rescue of teachers that don't have the knowledge, lack the time and have no course material.

"The world needed Code Club UK to realise that it can be done: it only takes an hour a week with the right curriculum, a teacher and a programmer to make kids code literate. Now it's up to the world to act."

The news coincided with the launch of a quirky children's book developed by three students in Stockholm, aimed at the three to eight year old age range, teaching coding basics.

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Meanwhile ,a href="/opinion/2013/05/07/bima-d-day-why-your-digital-agency-should-get-involved-year">BIMA D-Day is coming up, and the search is on for digital agencies to partner up with local school in an effort to education pupils on the UK's digital sector.