The promise of coding club in Church Hill took a step closer when the Google bus rolled into town recently as part of the company’s Digital Garage initiative.
Recently-elected Councillor Mike Rouse pledged during his campaign to deliver coding clubs for the area’s young people to help with anti-social behaviour and provide skills for the future, even offering to run the clubs himself if necessary owing to his background as a software developer.
Cllr Rouse said, “The problem with local kids misbehaving in bike gangs isn’t going to be solved overnight. We’ve got to offer a range of alternative choices to dicing with death in a bus road. Coding clubs won’t be for everyone, but they’re a step in the right direction.”
Visiting the Google bus with the town’s MP, Rachel Maclean, the pair were able to see what Google had to offer and discuss options with other visitors. Coding Clubs offer the opportunity for young people to get involved with things like robotics, creating augmented reality experiences and developing systems using devices like Raspberry Pi.
Mike added: “I play Minecraft with my daughter, which has been a fun way to introduce her to coding concepts. I think a gaming focus to local coding clubs will help with their appeal and will help local kids develop baseline skills for the future.”
Rachel commented, “I’m aware that we have some coding clubs around Redditch and I’d like to see them well-supported and more of them starting up.”
She added: “I’m deeply concerned about industrial strategy and where coding sits in this agenda. Redditch has a strong technological base, but we are also exposed to risk of automation down the line. That’s why we need to give the current and next generation of Redditch workers the best chance of securing the opportunities of the future through things like coding clubs.”
Both Mike and Rachel have a background in technology. Mike is a consultant in software development and Rachel previously ran technology startups before becoming the town’s MP.