Generation Code Hub of the Year: A few words from our winners!

At UK Youth’s Generation Code Hackathon, Creative Computing Club was named “Hub of the Year” for their extraordinary commitment to helping young people in Suffolk engage in computer science.

Creative Computing Club founder, Matthew C. Applegate spoke to us about how being involved in UK Youth’s Generation Code has helped strengthen what they offer young people…

 

Creative Computing Club has been delivering technology-focused workshops to young people in Suffolk for six years. This year we were excited to be able to deliver Generation Code to 205 young people – many of whom had never coded before. Generation Code is a programme run by UK Youth and Microsoft that delivers introductory coding workshops to address the lack of computer science skills in young people and help them to become digital creators. The result of having support and funding from UK Youth to run these workshops has had a significant impact for our organisation well beyond the workshops themselves.

The Creative Computing Club is purely focused on technology and is so immersed in cutting-edge tech we sometimes forget that not everyone is as far along the technology path as our existing members. Running these introductory sessions were of immense value to the young people wanting to get into technology for the first time. Generation Code made us review what we have learnt over the last few years, focus on the things that work,  and deliver the things that inspire absolute beginners and encourage them to continue long after they have left the workshops. Because of this focus, we now have a set of beginner workshops we can deliver at the drop of a hat.

The programme helped immensely with our sustainability and has given us new opportunities for young people.  Through Generation Code we were able to recruit new members to the organisation with some young participants of Generation Code becoming members of Creative Computing Club. It was also of significant value to our existing older members as we were able to train them up to deliver the workshops. This gave them status and a challenge that they have relished. They have grown as individuals and now run workshops as assistants on a regular basis, and in turn have gained part-time employment to go along with their academic studies. This has given more young people a route into the tech sector and helped improve our impact even further.

As part of the programme we were invited to the Generation Code Hackathon at The Microsoft Reactor in London. The theme of the hackathon was ‘Tech for Good’ and this provided young people with an opportunity to explore the positive impact technology can have and what role they can play in that change. The end result was nothing short of astounding, the young people were able to address social issues by demonstrating an understanding of these issues and creating potential methods of solving those problems using technology.

At the hackathon, we were able to meet other youth organisations and Microsoft. You never know how much a big corporation like Microsoft gets involved in events and projects like Generation Code. It was great to see just how involved and enthusiastic the Microsoft employees were about the programme. We learnt about further internship opportunities with Microsoft and how digital skills support for the youth sector has evolved over the years. Through this programme we have also been able to become part of a wider community of ‘tech’ organisations and it’s great to know we are part of that wider network.

We genuinely want to say thanks to Microsoft for not just funding this programme but actively supporting it.  It’s great to see the engagement from their staff and it definitely also helps us to be able to say that we have had the support of Microsoft. Working with UK Youth and Microsoft over the last year has been incredibly beneficial for the young people we work with and our organisation as a whole. If you are a youth worker and considering getting involved, we would strongly recommend it. Get involved, learn from it and grow from it.

 

Generation Code is a programme dedicated to igniting an interest in computer science in young people and allowing them to gain a basic understanding of coding. The programme is delivered all across the UK and since June 2017 has reached over 11,500 young people.

Generation Code would not be possible without the generous support of Microsoft.

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