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Dan Mather - extraordinary 11 yr old

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As I prepared to present to hundreds of the North West's digital business leaders gathered at the Manchester Digital Skills Conference, I glanced to my side. Sat beside me was 11 year-old Dan. Make no mistake, he's no ordinary 11 year-old. Any glimmer of nerves evaporated as I observed this confident, bright young man taking the situation in his stride.
 
Together with Clare Sutcliffe, co-founder of Code Club, Dan and I were about to announce an exciting partnership in which CTI Digital will invest time and money to ensure after schools clubs teaching 9-11 year-olds how to code reach 50% of Manchester’s school children.
 
Code Clubs introduce young people to problem solving, experimentation and creativity using fun languages like Scratch. Rather than literally writing code, which exists as text in a manner computers understand, you create logic by drag and drop interfaces rather like building a jigsaw on an iPad.
 
Immediately I met Dan what struck me was not that he knew how to code. The benefits of Code Club go way beyond that. In attending these clubs Dan is equipping himself with the skills and confidence which he can draw upon as he moves into adult life. These young people will be the visionary leaders, innovators and decision makers for our next generations.
 
The internet economy contributes over 8% GDP compared with 9.6% from the financial sector. What is marked is the internet economy growth is outstripping the financial industry. To maintain this growth we need more bright minds like Dan. Code Club is the first step in that journey.
 
Hear Dan speak to BBC Radio Manchester (scroll to 02:20:37) talking about how he and Code Club may contribute to solving the crisis the tech industry faces in sustaining growth in the coming years. 
 
Perhaps you may consider participating, allowing your staff to do so or simply help spread the word.

Code Club Manchester - Missing one vital ingredient

Code Club Manchester

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Code Club is a nationwide network of free volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for children aged 9-11. It gives children the chance to learn programming by showing them how to make computer games, animations and websites using languages like Scratch, HTML, CSS and Python.

Volunteers bring to the classroom essential 'up to date knowledge' and experience that schools struggle to provide.

What's stopping success?

Manchester City Council has committed to introducing Code Clubs to 25% of the 130 primary schools in the city. In a recent meeting with Jennifer Green, Head of Digital City Strategy - Manchester City Council, she explained that

the biggest barrier is attracting volunteers - who are consistent. We are struggling in the deprived areas to match schools with volunteers

Everyone can help

Employers

Consider allowing your staff to volunteer some of their time to deliver a Code Club in a local school.

Developers / Techies

There's a lot of debate about teaching of Computer Science in schools. Why don't you become part of the solution? Consider volunteering to run a Code Club. Find out more.

Parents

Encourage your school to enquire about starting a Code Club for your children.

Simply spread the word

We'd really appreciate you using social media to spread the word about this post, tell your friends, encourage them to come to our launch events or become volunteers.


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