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Cardiff and Swansea universities get £1.2m coding cash

Cardiff and Swansea universities get £1.2m coding cash
Cardiff and Swansea universities get £1.2m coding cash
Image copyright vgajic/Getty Images
Image caption The aim is for young people to move from being just users of technology to helping create it

Two Welsh universities are to receive £1.2m towards expanding coding in schools, colleges and communities.

The funding will help Cardiff and Swansea universities be part of the UK-wide Institute of Coding, which links up with tech giants and aims to improve digital skills.

Being able to write computer code enables young people to create software, websites and apps.

The money will improve teachers' skills and run computer science workshops.

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams is making the announcement, on top of the £1.3m last summer to improve coding in schools.

Of the new funding, £200,000 will directly support coding initiatives in schools, colleges and universities.

Image caption Coding clubs are more common and there have been 150 Technocamp workshops in 85 primary schools in the last year

What is coding?

  • Computer code is a set of rules and instructions, made up of words and numbers
  • When you put them in the right order, it will tell your computer what to do
  • Code is what makes it possible to create computer software, apps and websites
  • The apps on your phone, Facebook and this page you're reading is all made with code

The Institute of Coding, set up by the UK Government and led by Bath University, brings together experts and tech companies such as IBM, Cisco, BT and Microsoft.

The money will pay for computers and equipment for Technocamps, which have already brought coding to 4,250 primary pupils and 1,000 secondary pupils in the last 12 months.

It will also help set up community coding clubs, run by the National Software Academy.

Research from 2016 showed the digital sector employs 40,000 people and is worth over £8.5bn in turnover to the Welsh economy.

Ms Williams said: "Code is everywhere and part of our everyday lives.

"Having world-class digital skills is essential and it is vitally important that young people have the ability and knowledge to develop in this field."

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David Blaney, chief executive of Welsh higher education funding body Hefcw, said it would help fill skills gaps and also enable universities to run new and revised degree programmes in software engineering, artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber security.

There will also be student "ambassadors" to change the perception of computer science in schools and also encourage more women to think about careers.

Prof Faron Moller, director of Technocamps and lead for the Institute of Coding Wales, said the universities together were "a powerful force" in Wales in addressing the national skills shortage in the digital economy workforce.

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