Crowdfunder launched to boost aspirations of young people in Cornwall

Software Cornwall has launched a crowdfunding campaign to ensure the continuation of its Education Outreach Programme supporting young people into careers in Cornwall’s Tech Community.  

The campaign runs from 7th February to 21st March and will only be funded if at least £15,000 is pledged.  To find out more and to pledge your support visit. https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/software-cornwall-education-outreach  

With huge cutbacks to funding this year, Software Cornwall are reaching out to the community to help them to reach the total needed to continue their programme during 2019.  The crowdfund will help meet the target to provide the remaining £15,000 needed to fund the delivery of their Education Programme alongside contributions from Software Cornwall and Cornwall College and funding from the Careers Enterprise Company.  

The campaign welcomes organisations and individuals to help them meet their target by their deadline of 21st March. Pledges include opportunities to sponsor local Schools and the popular Mission to Mars work experience weeks.     

Over the past 18 months the award winning programme has visited every secondary school in the county engaging with over 13,000 students to raise awareness of pathways and career opportunities in the local tech community, and providing hands-on experience of software creation.  

Over 100 students have attended Mission to Mars work experience weeks where participants learn to code Mars Rovers to navigate martian terrain.  Hundreds of students have participated in hands on workshops held across Schools, Scout and Guides groups, and hundreds more attending monthly Tech Jams hosted around Cornwall, with many now regular attendees.

The programme attends over 50 careers fairs, open days, and events at schools, colleges, job centres, conferences and meet-ups each year across Cornwall, raising awareness of career pathways and opportunities.  It provides information and signposting for students online too through their website and social media channels.

In 2018 it won Best Careers Provider in the West and South-West from the Careers Enterprise Company and The Most Inspirational Educational IT/Digital/Multimedia Project at the Cornwall Live Edge Awards.

Robert Wiltshire lead of the Education Outreach programme commented, “Through continued engagement with schools we’ve been able to significantly increase the awareness of the opportunities there are for a rewarding career here in Cornwall’s tech sector.  Students are keen to engage and experience software creation and we want to be able to continue to offer that opportunity to them”

“We’re seeing lots of faces from previous outreach activities gain employment within our network. Graduates of our Mission to Mars and Summer programmes are now contributing to industry leading projects across Cornwall.”

“We need to maintain the provision of our Schools Outreach, Missions and Tech Jams for young people so they can explore software creation and have a go for free. It’s a great way for them to meet others interested in the same things and meet employers and the wider community.  It’s especially important to those who do not have access anywhere else to the technology and guidance needed to practically explore their interests”

Caitlin Gould, Director of Bluefruit Software, one of the first local organisations to pledge their support for the programme commented “We are very happy to support this extremely worthy campaign.  We believe that the future success of our company depends on the ability to access local talent and we’re keen to make a job in tech as accessible as possible to young people in Cornwall.”

Dave Pollard Enterprise Advisor Commented

“I think the work that you carry out engaging young people into the world of STEM and IT specifically is brilliant, the feedback that I have heard from staff and Career Leaders in school have always been positive and I genuinely do believe you are having a positive impact on the long term supply of highly skilled IT students and workers of the future. I think the model that you use for Software Cornwall of multiple businesses investing a small amount of resource to have a specialist promoting their sector should be held up as best practise for other sectors, and I imagine will be one that is emulated as other bodies of groups get together. Thank you for all the work that you do.”

Lindsay Masters, Mounts Bay Academy commented

“It was great to hear from students that had not previously considered this industry feeling that this is something they could enjoy as a career. Your passion and enthusiasm for your subject area has influenced a lot of our students to see and experience it for themselves, this really does make a difference in bridging the skills gap.”

The campaign runs from 7th February to 21st March and will only be funded if at least £15,000 is pledged.  To find out more and to pledge your support visit. https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/software-cornwall-education-outreach  

 

Further Information

Crowdfunder Campaign:

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/software-cornwall-education-outreach  

 

Enquiries please contact:

Robert Wiltshire – Education Outreach Lead, Software Cornwall, robert@softwarecornwall.org  

Software Cornwalls education outreach programme was created to help encourage the next generation into the tech industry as well as help connect education and businesses through shared activity. By showcasing the counties software community and encouraging exploration of STEM topics through technology, we aim to facilitate future growth of the tech industry.

We’re seeing lots of faces from previous outreach activities gain employment within our network. Graduates of our Mission to Mars and Agile Summer Huddle programmes are now contributing to industry leading projects across Cornwall.

Our aim is to bring to every secondary school pupil in the county the opportunity to try out computer coding, show them projects local businesses are working on and meet professionals working in the county right today.

Through funding we aim to:

  • Provide a digital career assembly to every pupil in every secondary school.
  • Assist in setting up a Code Club in every secondary school.
  • Run and explains Mission to Mars, our work experience offering
  • Support Cornwall Tech Jam and provide extracurricular activities.
  • Develop engagements that are inclusive and attract a diversity of participants.

 

Assemblies showcase the Cornwall Software Industry highlighting the work being done. We show the benefits of working in the technology industry in Cornwall, demonstrate uses of computer programming that maybe have not been seen before to engage pupils currently not aware of. Whenever possible we will set up a mini Tech Jam during the assembly visit for interested pupils to come along, try out some coding on our equipment and learn more about digital career pathways.

Mission to Mars was developed to provide an encapsulated work experience, supported by companies from the Software Cornwall Network. Participants are mentored by professionals and given a real insight into life as a software startup.

Ada and Alan, the rover robots, are programmed to negotiate the surrounding terrain, avoiding obstacles and navigate to a home beacon. Not as easy as it sounds given that each rover has its own ‘quirks’! The experience encourages participants to consider a future career in the tech sector in Cornwall.

We also support monthly Tech Jams dotted around the county. These are open events where anyone is welcome to come along, for free, and try their hands at coding, meet similarly minded people and see what projects others are working on.

 

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