Action E1: Support and grow a network of Birmingham young coders and digital makers

Although digital technologies are rapidly transforming organisations, business practices and societies, skills are developing more slowly. For the digital economy to advance at the speed the UK economy requires, we need our people to have the skills to fuel it. Some of our most digitally literate citizens are our young people and we need to make sure that we harness these skills to ensure their employability and inclusion in society. Building on the success of Young Rewired State we will strengthen and retain a network of self-taught coders/programmers and designers in Birmingham by establishing ‘hyperlocal’ centres across the city and virtual networks. These centres will provide support, activities and challenges linked to industry, communities and the public sector. The young coders will receive help to develop their ideas into products and apps to stimulate enterprise opportunities. A particular focus will be to look at how we engage with young people from disadvantaged communities.

Initial Stakeholders

  • Digital Birmingham
  • BBC
  • Accord Housing
  • Arts Council England
  • BBC
  • Birmingham City University
  • Creative Skillset
  • Digital Birmingham
  • Lara Ratnaraja
  • School clusters
  • Smart City Alliance
  • STEMNet

What makes this approach smart?

Cross sector collaboration to engage young stakeholders and empower them transform and create services

Short-term actions

  • Establish a pilot hyperlocal centre with BBC linked to the school/community network
  • Increase the number of young people and centres in Birmingham participating in the National Festival of Code

Future actions

  • Scope community engagement programme targeted at disadvantaged communities
  • Grow centres and network and increase the number of centres across Birmingham and the West Midlands region

9 thoughts on “Action E1: Support and grow a network of Birmingham young coders and digital makers”

  1. Digital Birmingham have already started to work with the BBC and Lara Ratnaraja and other organisations such as Creative Skillset, BCU, Creative Alliance, BOA, Arts Council West Midlands to develop an all year round centre at the BBC that will support young people around coding. We are actively looking for funding to help support a community engagement programme to get more young people (not just coders) involved in using their coding skills to respond to challenges.

  2. At the end of January we held a focus group (Nicola – Digital Birmingham, Lara Ratnaraja, Jenny Wilkes – BBC and Ardavan Amini – Birmingham City University), hosted by the BBC Mailbox to find out from young coders what they wanted from a permanent centre and how this could help them develop their skills, share ideas and meet with other digital designers. As a result of this BBC have now set up a regular get together for anyone interested in ‘digital’ to meet on the last Saturday of the month.

    1. Hi Nicola,

      Where would this be and at what time? If we, at Birmingham Science City, can help get the message out, please let me know where I can get more details.

      Thanks and all the best


      1. Thanks Susannah – the meetings are the last Saturday of the month and are held in the BBC Mailbox public space. There have only been 2 meetings to date and have been kept quite low profile to start with to make sure that they could manage the numbers and existing group of young people. It’s going well and there is the space for around 30-40. I will confirm times etc and send these through.

    1. Thanks – it would be good to make these more visible and map out all the coding club activities across Birmingham – am sure there are plenty more

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