Under two new pilot schemes, designed to improve access to the digital-technology sector, more than 200 state-school pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds will be given the opportunity to learn computer code.
The Sutton Trust Programmes
The Sutton Trust has launched two new programmes that aim to address the skills shortages in the technology sector. Recent research conducted by the Trust identified significant access barriers stopping non-privileged young people from pursuing careers in the sector. Specifically, it found that these pupils, unlike their better-off peers, were not exposed to information about coding from a young age.
The Imperial Sutton Scholars project will aim to help pupils between the ages of 11 and 14 to learn more about coding, programming and how these skills can be applied in the field. A second programme, Pathways to Coding, is designed to teach coding and programming skills to pupils aged between 16 and 18. Furthermore, these pupils will be offered e-mentoring, talks and campus coding days.
In addition to coding and programming, the 220 secondary school pupils will be provided with advice to help them access jobs in the technology sector.
The research also found that disadvantaged pupils were missing out on jobs in the tech sector due to an under-representation in science, technology, engineering and maths degree courses. Large technology companies tend to favour graduates with those qualifications when it comes to employment. Disadvantaged pupils also lacked the financial resources to take the risks inherent in working for a start-up company.
There are currently around 1.5 million jobs in the digital sector in the UK, 400,000 of which involve coding. It is estimated that there will be 100,000 new coding jobs by 2020.
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said the digital sector looked likely to offer financially rewarding careers to many pupils. “But we need to make sure that these opportunities are available to all young people, not just those from better-off backgrounds,” he said.
For more information about the programmes offered by the Sutton Trust, please visit their official website – http://www.suttontrust.com/programmes/