Microsoft today celebrated the start of EU Code Week with the launch of the ‘CoderDojo Champion Training Programme’ which aims to give an extra 5,000 young people the opportunity to develop their digital skills by forging the next generation of Dojo trainers.

EU Code Week is an annual, grassroots initiative supported by the European Commission aimed at encouraging young people to try coding and improve their digital skills. Microsoft has been a supporter of EU Code Week since its launch in 2013. To mark EU Code Week, the Microsoft CoderDojo Club will also be hosting a special evening for all its members in Microsoft’s DreamSpace the company’s bespoke innovation and education hub.

Microsoft has a long history of collaborating with CoderDojo to support the movement in increasing the number of Dojos around the country, help to inspire more young people to join a Dojo and a specific focus in recent times to attract more girls into Dojos. This initiative is a bespoke programme, developed in conjunction with CoderDojo, designed to see the delivery of free, in-person training for youth workers based on a specially developed curriculum that focuses on overcoming the barriers to starting a Dojo for those with little or no tech experience, in an underserved youth setting.

Commenting at the launch of the programme, Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland said: “At Microsoft, we are committed to ensuring that every young person – no matter where they live or what their background may be – has the digital skills to achieve more. To realise this ambition, we have developed a long-term relationship with the team at CoderDojo and supported them on a number of key initiatives including Hour of Code, Coolest Projects and CoderDojo Girls Initiative. The emphasis is always on supporting the growth of CoderDojo in Ireland but also inspiring more young people to join a Dojos and in recent years a particular focus to attract more girls. Despite the growing number of Dojos run by incredible volunteers right around the country, there are still many young people, including girls and those in disadvantaged areas, that have yet to experience how technology can open up a world of opportunities.

“That is why to celebrate EU Code Week 2018 we have committed to training 250 youth workers to start their own dojos, reaching and enabling 5,000 young people in underserved areas throughout Ireland to develop their own digital skills. Through the CoderDojo Champion Training Programme, they will be provided with the training, supports and above all confidence to pass on their passion for technology to the next generation. I would encourage any youth leader interested, to sign-up for the free, one-day workshops today”

Giustina Mizzoni, Executive Director, CoderDojo said: “We are delighted to have worked with Microsoft to create a dedicated, CIPD-approved curriculum that primarily focuses on equipping youth workers with the digital confidence to start their own dojo. Many youth leaders have incredible skills in working with young people, but they can sometimes lack the confidence to deliver opportunities in digital literacy to others. Microsoft’s support for the CoderDojo Champion Training Programme will help us to bridge that gap. We will help youth workers to plan ways to integrate coding into existing youth programmes and teach coding skills to they can become the champion trainers of the future.”

The ‘CoderDojo Champion Training Programme’ is being rolled out in a number of locations across Ireland including the Cork Migrant Centre, Kilkenny Bank of Ireland Workbench, Wexford FDYS, Blanchardstown Library, Creative Zone, Boole Library, UCC, Maynooth University, Inishowen Development Partnership, Shannon Library, Carlow IT. Before its launch, the programme had been piloted with 30 participants.

For those youth leaders and organisations looking to get involved, check out the upcoming training dates and locations at https://coderdojo.com/youthworktraining.

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