THE world's leading tech companies have backed plans to expand CoderDojo clubs for children who want to learn computing coding
Representatives from Microsoft, IBM, AutoDesk and Mission V were all present in Sligo over the weekend to announce an expansion of the programme that offers children the opportunity to learn code in a safe and social way. Dave Shepherd, head of Frontline Help for Barclays, said that Ireland's input to teaching code was very important.
"Something is happening in Ireland and it is going to change the world.
"Barclays are now opening their doors to CoderDojo," he said.
The project began in Cork in 2011, when student James Whelton received publicity for hacking an iPod Nano.
Mr Whelton then set up a computer club in his school, PBC Cork, and started teaching basic code.
He set up CoderDojo with Australian businessman Bill Liao and all of the programmes that they offer are volunteer-led sessions for young people specialising in computer programming and computer technology.
Mr Liao said that the clubs were teaching children a vital skill.
"Coding is the fundamental value generator for nearly every company on Earth. If you were to try and pay for the expertise that's given freely to CoderDojo, you'd go broke," he said.
In Ireland, there are 120 centres, with more than 6,000 young people attending the clubs on a weekly basis.
Supported by the some of the world's biggest tech companies and run by volunteer mentors and parents, CoderDojo now has more than 500 Dojos or clubs in more than 48 countries, reaching 25,000 children.