Local education services company, Gledus, has developed a major new initiative to help Lancashire school children engage with Computer Science and software programming. Working with Lancaster University and Kirkham Grammar School, Gledus, accredited by the British Accreditation Council, has developed its new “STEAM” programme to make computer science more attractive and give students, aged 8-16, a taste of the future.
The Gledus “STEAM” programme is a combination of the better known “STEM” with an Arts element. Henry Hargreaves, Managing Director of Gledus insists, “The Arts element is important, to focus a little on the soft skills as well. We want to deliver a rounded experience.”
Henry, winner of “Most Inspiring Young Person of the Year 2018” at the BIBAs, has first hand experience of digital developments in other countries. “Even among developed countries, there is an emerging digital skills gap,” he says. “We are approaching a perfect storm with the convergence of AI, machine learning, autonomous vehicles, internet of things (IoT), blockchain, 5G, cyber security, VR and 3D printing – all requiring software programmers.”
Huge opportunities await those who get an early start in these areas and software coding is a great entry point. Henry adds, “Whilst the UK education system is held in huge respect around the world, we need to stay ahead of the game and initiatives like this help to make computer science more attractive and help students understand the impact they can have through coding.”
The Gledus programmes aim to spark interest in a digital career. “Sometimes parents and students alike are unaware of how much digital skills are in demand across industry” suggests Henry, “and fostering an early curiosity is a key ambition for our programmes”. Henry, in particular raised concerns about the lack of female representation in the Tech industry. “Females are vastly outnumbered in Tech. Our Girls-only programme aims to change this and inspire more young females into the world of Tech through our dedicated Careers specialist.”
Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of North and West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce says, “This is a great initiative by Henry and Gledus. We all recognise the importance of the digital economy both nationally and to Lancashire and totally support what Henry is doing to engage with the programmers of the future.”
The 5-day courses are £199 and are held at Kirkham Grammar School during the Summer holidays. They include something for everyone from beginners upwards – STEAM KIDS (12th – 16th August for ages 8-12), STEAM TEENS (22nd – 26th July for ages 13-16) and STEAM GIRLS (19th – 23 August for ages 10-13).