A week-long computer coding camp for teenagers kicks off today at St James' Park, Newcastle.
The Wonga Codemakers event, which is being piloted in the North East, is aimed at finding and inspiring the next generation of British entrepreneurs and internet visionaries.
A total of 50 young people aged 13 and 14 will be taking part, learning from expert technology students and listening to inspirational speakers from the entrepreneurial world. The event is a non-profit initiative being launched by payday lender Wonga in partnership with Codecademy, the global tech education company, and the Newcastle United Foundation.
Wonga says it is “determined to do something meaningful” alongside its normal business activities and is concerned schools are not always teaching coding in a sufficiently engaging way.
Joanna Shields, chief executive of Tech City and UK Business Ambassador for Digital Industries, said: “We need to continue to see more investment, mentoring and skills development and programmes such as Wonga Codemakers will help us continue to establish entrepreneurship as a credible career path and build the digital skills this country depends on for its future economic success.”
The founder and chief executive of Wonga, Errol Damelin, said: “Computer code is a language that few people understand, but it has the power to do so much and we’re determined to deliver an inspiring and accessible programme.
“The Newcastle camp will allow us to get things started and design an exceptional blueprint this year, but we’re treating it much like any new venture and our vision is to reach thousands of children over the next few years.
“We’ll do that by rolling out the camps across the UK and to other countries where we have a presence. Everything we do is built to scale.”