Stuck for something for your children to do this Summer? Bored of the usual football, cricket and tennis camps? Well, an increasing number of educational institutes will open their doors during the holidays for kids to learn or brush up on their coding skills.
For example, tech training company ID Tech offers a range of courses at Kensington’s Imperial College. These include week-long courses on AI and robotics, Game Design and Java coding for Minecraft mods. They are aimed at children aged 7 to 17 and designed to equip youngsters with a range of tech skills for the modern world.
Similarly, FireTech runs camps for young people at a number of institutions. These include Imperial College London, The Science Museum and various schools. City of London School for Boys and Camden School for Girls are just two schools in London hosting the camps.
Tech enthusiast Jill Hodges set up FireTech six years ago because she couldn’t find any engaging tech camps for her own kids. The courses run over five days, each with a different focus. Robotics, video game design, AR/VR and digital music production are just some of the options.
“I started FireTech at my kitchen table because of concerns my own children weren’t learning the skills they need to thrive in the world,” says Hodges.
However, prices don’t come cheap. Typically courses start at around £250 a week for Junior Python coding. However, they go up to £1350 for residential camps. These take place at a number of UK locations. Here keen students learn about a number of IT-based subjects. Advanced robotics, 3D game development with Unity and Creative Digital Design are just some of the options.
Cyber skills for Girlguides
Summer camps aren’t the only way for children to learn coding and technology skills either. Even organisations best known for teaching ‘outdoor skills’ are encouraging children to improve their cyber skills. For example, Girlguides in South West England can now earn new badges completing activities in cyber skills and demonstrating awareness of safety online.
The ‘On the Net’ resource, which was devised in partnership with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), is designed to help more women to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers.
“As we look to the future, the world is becoming increasingly digital,” says Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ. “I hope some of the girls completing these Girlguiding Cyber activities will become part of the next generation of experts our country needs to face the challenge of the next 100 years,” he adds.
The tech-themed badges don’t require computers or an internet connection. Girls can also complete them wherever Girlguiding groups meet.
For Carole Pennington, Girlguiding South West chief commissioner, it’s another step forward for the organisation.
“I am delighted that Girlguiding South West England is working with GCHQ, NCSC and CyberFirst to produce the latest ‘On the net’ resource. Awareness of cybersecurity is vital for all our members. The activities in the resource are designed to provide fun ways of learning about computer systems and cybersecurity.”
Girlguiding has come a long way since Lord Baden Powell set it up in 1910!