£6m boost to create next generation of technologists
A £6million project to encourage young people to follow in the footsteps of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and other successful technologists and entrepreneurs has been announced today by Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, Lesley Griffiths.
Led by Swansea University in partnership with the Universities of Bangor, Aberystwyth and Glamorgan, Technocamps will provide daily and weekly sessions to pupils aged 11-19 on a range of exciting topics, including robotics, games development, animation, digital forensics, software development and much more.
Backed with £3.9m from the European Social Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government, Technocamps will deliver a series of outreach programmes to schools and colleges; inspiring young people to study computing-based topics underpinning and aligned with the STEM subjects (Science Technology, Engineering, Maths) and pursue a career in one of the key strategic areas that drive economic growth and create wealth.
Over 2,600 pupils from across the Convergence area of Wales will get the chance to take part in interactive workshops, develop their technical skills and gain an insight into the wide-range of careers open to them.
Participating schools will also be encouraged to set up 'Technoclubs' to encourage pupils, particularly girls, to continue to learn about STEM-based subjects in a fun, friendly and interactive environment.
Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, said: "We are committed to ensuring our young people can acquire the skills and confidence to use digital technologies. Delivering a Digital Wales highlights how we can capitalise on the digital age and ensure more youngsters achieve higher level technology skills required to take advantage of the valuable opportunities for them to help grow Wales' digital economy.
"It is vital that we get more young people interested in taking up science related subjects and getting them enthused and actively involved at an early age is key to this, which is why I am delighted to support Technocamps which aims to do just that."
Pro-Vice Chancellor at Swansea University, Professor Ian Cluckie said, "Technocamps, a long term transformational programme, will help to position Wales at the forefront of future technical advances through the delivery of a workforce equipped with the computing, science, mathematics and engineering skills demanded by employers looking to retain and grow their position as key players in the global economy."
The Technocamps initiative will build on the achievements of a pilot project, delivered in 2004 to 36 students between the ages of 11-19, which provided young people with the chance to gain practical experience through the use of 'real-life' learning scenarios.
Professor Faron Moller, Director of Technocamps, said, "I am very excited that all the hard work to get this off the ground is now paying off. The project - which is the only one of its kind in Wales - links up schools with Universities through novel, interactive and exciting workshops and master classes.
"Through these, young pupils will see how computational thinking underpins the STEM subjects and can be practically applied in the 'real world'. They will then be inspired to work towards qualifications in computing and technology to satisfy the demand for highly-skilled, high-value jobs that will put them at the forefront of the exciting and rapidly-growing digital economy."