Children as young as five can now start learning coding and other tech skills for free, with the aim of eventually securing jobs, thanks to Connecting Tech City’s ‘wearedotdotdot’ programme.
Launched in beta phase on 14 May this year, this free educational platform provides digital learning courses for all ages and connects young people with employers in need. The online project was seed funded with support from Tech City UK, the Mayor’s Office and City University, plus a number of other Tech City businesses.
“From here we’ll assess how people use it, and build it out with extra features which we hope will make the platform more and more useful over time,” said Jess Tyrrell, director of wearedotdotdot and Connecting Tech City, a successful IndieGoGo campaign developed by think tank Centre for London in response to the digital skills crisis in East London.
According to TechCity UK, the number of digital businesses in the capital increased from 50,000 to 88,000 between 2009 and 2012, with the biggest growth recorded in East London. Data from London’s Poverty Profile reveals that this area also has higher levels of unemployment and low pay than the rest of the capital.
While this rate of unemployment has slowed in the past year, many digital firms in the tech sector continue to report a shortage of skilled employers.
Wearedotdotdot looks to bridge the skills gap and capitalise on the potential of local talent from these areas by making the tech industry more accessible. The platform provides young people with information on what is available in the tech sector and how to become a part of it.
“Users can search for opportunities by location, by skill, by age and by level, whether they are just beginning or looking for something advanced,” said Tyrrell.
By the time this online project launched, Tyrrell and her team had found over 90 digital learning programmes listed with more to come.
The site is also a useful resource for schools to refer their students to the opportunities available.