Microsoft today announced that it will become an official European partner for the CoderDojo Foundation & Movement. Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland celebrated the partnership announcement with Mary Moloney, CEO of the CoderDojo Foundation at the company’s headquarters in Sandyford, Dublin.

With a digital skills gap continuing to widen across Europe, the aim of this new partnership is to support the CoderDojo movement across the region and to further encourage young people to learn to code. Microsoft have pledged their support to the CoderDojo Foundation as part of its YouthSpark initiative.

Speaking in Dublin today Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland said: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with the CoderDojo Foundation and making this announcement today. In addition to the corporate grant Microsoft will be providing we are also ambitious about how our employee base can support the growth of the CoderDojo movement. In Ireland there is currently over 4,500 job vacancies in the ICT sector. Ensuring we educate our youth with the skills to work in these roles is essential. CoderDojo plays an important role in this regard and together we want to encourage every young person across Europe the opportunity to discover their digital potential and gain access to a CoderDojo club.”

As part of the partnership the key ways that Microsoft will be supporting CoderDojo over the next 12 months are:

  • Collaborating at a European-level to promote CoderDojo and to encourage & support the creation of new Dojos across the region. CoderDojo will also be able to tap into Microsoft’s more than 25,000 employees across Europe as mentors who will support existing Dojos and facilitate in the establishment and hosting of new Dojos.
  • Giving all European CoderDojos access to Microsoft’s DreamSpark program, which provides access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes at no charge
  • Microsoft will be a platinum partner at the upcoming Coder Dojo Coolest Projects Competition, which is the largest coding competition for kids globally, taking place in the RDS, Dublin  on 13th June.
  • Microsoft Ireland has been hosting a Coder Dojo club for over three years, and will act as a showcase to other Microsoft locations throughout Europe.

The Microsoft grant will enable the CoderDojo Foundation to specifically focus on:

  • Increasing the amount of content available to volunteers to help them to facilitate Dojo sessions. It is through the amazing contibution that Volunteers make to the movement that CoderDojo is able to support the young community of CoderDojo coders. Ensuring that these Volunteers have easy access to all of the tools that they need, is critical to the ongoing success of the movement. Pedagogy and Mentoring Best Practice material will be developed and will be shared with the community.
  • Developing short training videos for mentors & Champions, eg ‘Mentoring how to’ & ‘Child Protection best practices’, with the aim of upskilling current community members and attracting further mentors and Champions to the movement.
  • Developing “The CoderDojo Experience” video content – capturing activities at live Dojo sessions to showcase the variety of intitiatives and interventions deployed at Dojos and demonstrating the culture & environment at Dojos, with the aim of giving potential new Champions across Europe an idea of what is involved in starting & hosting Dojos.

Responding to the announcement, Mary Moloney, CEO of the CoderDojo Foundation, said: “The support that Microsoft is providing to CoderDojo across Europe will enable the community to grow and to reach more kids and young people, enabling them to develop technology, innovation and entrepreneurial skills. As an organisation with such a strong portfolio of great technology products and with a talented workforce of skilled technologists, Microsoft is well positioned to support new and existing Dojos all over Europe.”

For further information about the CoderDojo Foundation log onto www.coderdojo.com.

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