I enjoy being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry...
The Prince's Trust and will.i.am Launch Computer Science in U.K. Schools
Here in the U.K., the charity The Prince's Trust has launched a new social innovation scheme to provide disadvantaged children with essential computer skills to get them interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. The workshops will be run in partnership with the Science Museum and are endorsed by will.i.am, music artist and Intel's director of creative innovation who donated£500,000 to this organisation in 2012.
Earlier this year, the U.K.'s National Audit Office warned that if the number of applicants for ICT (Information and Communications Technology) courses doesn't increase, it could take "up to 20 years" to fill the skills gap in the cyber security field. Will.i.am says, "Inspiring young people through science and technology is a powerful tool and I am proud to see my donation to the Prince's Trust being put into action to help engage disadvantaged youth who would not otherwise have access to technology and science education."
The Trust has also recently published the results of a study that found almost a quarter of unemployed young people were intimidated by online job applications and one in ten admitted they avoid using computers altogether. Martina Milburn, CEO of The Prince's Trust, says, "We work with the hardest-to-reach pupils, who may not have access to a computer at home and often don't have basic IT skills. The donation from will.i.am is transforming how we help young people.
As part of the Prince's Trust social innovation initiative, Science Museum staff will visit "xl clubs" in schools across the U.K. to deliver workshops aimed at engaging 13-19 year olds and inspiring them to study STEM subjects. The charity's main objective is to help children who might not have access to a computer outside school. Xl clubs provide a personal development programme aimed at young people at risk of underachievement or exclusion from school.
Technology firms have been calling for more computing studies within British schools to address the growing high tech skills shortage for some time. Google chairman Eric Schmidt has previously accused the British education system of failing to ignite young people's passion for technology and has called for ICT to be made a compulsory subject. Thankfully, the government seems to be heeding the message. Earlier this year, the Education Secretary, Michael Gove announced that computer science will effectively become the fourth science option for pupils. This change being made in the national curriculum recognises the importance of computer science for both education and the economy.
Photo Credit: The Prince's Trust