Funding announced for programme helping youngsters improve Computer Science skills

Funding for a Swansea University led programme that will encourage youngsters to learn about Computer Science and its related STEM subjects has been announced by the Welsh Government Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan.

Professor Faron Moller and Eluned Morgan AM

The announcement, at a Prince's Trust event in Cardiff, confirmed that the University’s Technocamps Programme at the Department of Computer Science would receive £5.3 million from the European Social Fund.

The three-year Technocamps Operation aims to inspire and motivate pupils across Wales to learn more about Computer Science and STEM subjects and will engage with 3,600 pupils. There is a particular focus on girls – to help address the disturbing gender imbalance within Computer Science – with two thirds of targeted pupils being female.

The programme will target pupils from schools who are struggling to offer or deliver Computer Science at GCSE with the view to encourage and support schools to offer it in the coming years.

Each youngster will complete a STEM Enrichment Programme over a school year, taking part in a range of Computer Science- and STEM-based activities both at school and on university campuses.

They will look at a broad number of topics such as:-

  • Python programming
  • Cyber-physical systems
  • App development
  • Artificial intelligence

They will also learn how to apply these topics in a range of subject areas such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, and politics. 

Director of Technocamps, Professor Faron Moller said: “We wholeheartedly welcome this funding announcement which will help ensure that young people in Wales, particularly in schools where delivering GSCE Computer Science is a challenge, will not be left behind in gaining such key skills.  We are committed to driving this forward and by helping young people gain these fundamental skills, we hope equip them to take on the digital world which is now encompassing our everyday lives.

“We also want to see computer science education extending to widening participation, providing digital up-skilling opportunities to people in employment as well as various opportunities for life-long learning.”

Technocamps logo

Technocamps

Technocamps is a pan-Wales schools and community outreach programme led by the Swansea University’s Computer Science Department with hubs in every university across Wales.

It was first established in 2003 to provide a wide spectrum of activities aimed at identifying and addressing shortcomings in computing education and skills.

It covers all aspects of awareness-raising through:-

  • Engagement
  • Curriculum reform
  • Policy and practice
  • Teacher training
  • Professional development

The work of the University in these areas has led to Swansea University’s inclusion in the UK-wide Institute of Coding.

Technocamps is part of the Computational Foundry, Swansea University’s new £32.5 million world-class facility for computational and mathematical sciences.