Welsh Liberal Democrat Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams today announced that Cardiff and Swansea Universities are to receive £1.2m to support their involvement in the UK-wide Institute of Coding helping create the next generation of digital specialists.
The investment is on top of a £1.3m drive to connect Welsh pupils with coding, Cracking the Code, which was announced last year.
Research from 2016 showed the digital sector employs 40,000 people and is worth over £8.5 billion in turnover to the Welsh economy.
Cardiff and Swansea Universities will benefit from the funding, allocated by HEFCW, which will include £200,000 to support coding initiatives in schools, colleges and universities.
The Institute of Coding has been established by the UK Government to serve as a national focus for improving digital skills provision. It includes universities, businesses and industry experts including IBM, Cisco, BT and Microsoft.
The funding will pay for computers and associated equipment for Technocamps labs which provide hands on experience for teachers and learners on a range of coding activities and tools. It will also fund schools/business liaison officers, and the establishment of community engagement code clubs run by the National Software Academy.
The Cabinet Secretary made the announcement at St Philip Evans Catholic Primary School, Cardiff, which runs a coding club.
Since announcing Cracking the Code progress has included:
- Over 200 teachers have undergone training in coding with further sessions planned.
- Coleg Meirion Dwyfor in partnership with BT Cymru and Bangor University’s Widening Access Centres hosted an all Wales coding competition
- In 2017/18 Technocamps delivered 150 workshops in 85 primary schools across Wales to over 4,250 pupils and their 135 teachers. 40 workshops were delivered in 25 secondary schools to over 1,000 pupils and their teachers.
Kirsty Williams said: “Code is everywhere and part of our everyday lives. Having world-class digital skills is essential and it is vitally important that young people have the ability and knowledge to develop in this field.
“I’m pleased to announce that £1.2m is available for Cardiff and Swansea universities to take part in the Institute of Coding which will allow them to link with other universities, businesses and industries. Importantly the funding will also enable them to carry out work in the community, building further on the steps we have already taken to ensure coding is part of the learning process in our schools.”