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Code Clubs are a nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9 to 11, designed to give children the skills, confidence and opportunity to learn about programming. As more and more jobs depend on digital skills, Code Clubs will also help prepare future generations for important, rewarding and meaningful employment.

Currently there are 25 clubs running in primary schools across Bristol. One of these clubs, from Brislington’s West Town Lane Academy, today got an opportunity to visit Bristol’s tech hub, Engine Shed, to see some real world applications of coding in start-up companies based in the city.

Opposable Games’ Ground Shatter and YellowDog, Interactive Scientific and Aptcore, all from Engine Shed tenant SETsquared Bristol, will be demonstrating the variety of applications for technology and coding.

Matthew Lane, Assistant Head at West Town Lane Academy, who has been running a Code Club at the school for almost two years, said:

“Visiting Engine Shed is an amazing opportunity for our Code Club pupils to see where their interest in tech and coding can take them. Having the opportunity to speak to people at the forefront of new technology opens their eyes to possibilities and puts their learning in context. At school we’re preparing children for jobs that haven’t even been invented yet, and this experience gives them a sense of what is cutting-edge at the moment, and hopefully will inspire them into being our future entrepreneurs.”

Over the next three years, Bristol City Council wants to set up Code Clubs in every primary school in the city. The council’s Cities of Service initiative, which works to encourage more local people to volunteer, is driving forward Code Clubs in primary schools while High Tech Bristol and Bath is delivering DigiLocal in community centres across the city.

Clubs can also be run in libraries or community venues and Bristol’s Central Library has launched a free Code Club that will teach children to code using programmes such as SCRATCH, HTML and PYTHON.

Want to get involved?

More volunteers are needed to volunteer at and run Code Clubs across the city.

Anyone who’s confident with computers can volunteer – you don’t have to be a coding genius, but just able to give one hour a week during school term. Fun and engaging resources and projects, offering step-by step instructions to build games, animations and websites, are provided by Code Club alongside online resources to support volunteers.

Dominic Murphy, Chief Service officer for Cities of Service, said:

“Volunteering at a Code Club is a great opportunity to help inspire a new generation. Volunteers will meet new people and also learn alongside the children as they build games, animations and websites.

“As well as teaching children how to programme computers, children will learn systematic thinking, problem solving, planning, design and collaboration. We want children to leave Code Club inspired to pursue other digital making activities. Who knows, we might even find the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg here in Bristol.”

You can sign up to be a volunteer on the Code Club website.