Young people host visit from Microsoft UK COO, Clare Barclay

Programmes
  • The digital skills gap is widening in English schools, with fewer children getting the digital skills that employers and the government say are vital
  • Young people’s digital skills could be worth as much as £6.7 billion to British economy
  • UK Youth’s Generation Code programme, delivered locally by Aik Saath, addresses the lack of computer science skills in young people

22 young people at our member, Aik Saath in Slough, hosted a visit from Microsoft UK COO, Clare Barclay. The young people gave the Microsoft boss a tour of their centre, shared their youth-led community work and ran a Q&A session which discussed her role at Microsoft, how technology is changing our world, being a female COO in a male-dominated industry and her advice for young people entering the workforce today.

The Microsoft team then observed a group of young “Code Champions” from Aik Saath deliver a session from the Generation Code programme to their peers, in which the group explored how computer science is changing music-making and the music industry. Code Champions led discussions with the peers and then taught the group basic-level coding activities which saw them coding their own DJ mixes!

Aneesa, Code Champion: “It’s been great teaching other young people about code and how it’s important to learn IT skills and even basic coding skills. The world is developing quickly and shortly there will be plenty of jobs in the technology industry, not just for men but women too.”

Romaan, Aik Saath volunteer: “It was a great experience discovering how much of a big part technology plays in everyone’s lives, regardless of what field of work you may be in.”

Rosa, Youth Worker at Aik Saath said: “The feedback from the young people has been extremely positive and everyone is looking forward to using their coding skills in future projects at Aik Saath. The group who hosted the visit were predominantly female young volunteers so having the opportunity to put their questions to Clare was a valuable and inspiring experience.”

Christina Watson, Head of Programmes at UK Youth, said: “This visit from Microsoft’s COO was an amazing way to connect a high level corporate boss with young people’s experiences at a community level. With ongoing support from Microsoft, our award winning skills development programme, Generation Code, demystifies coding stereotypes to help more young people to participate with computer science opportunities and ultimately engage with training, volunteering or employment.”

Generation Code is delivered by youth organisations across the UK, thanks to UK Youth and Microsoft’s long standing partnership. The programme addresses the lack of computer science skills in young people, empowering them to become digital creators in today’s society. In 2018 so far over 5,000 young people have participated in Generation Code.

To find out more about Generation Code please visit this webpage.

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