Tackling the cyber skills shortage with coding clubs for schools
Published: 16th July 2023
If you’re a business or school interested in launching similar initiatives, we’ll be happy to share the details of our coding club with you. Please contact us here to request further information.
Red Helix Coding Club
Red Helix has launched an innovative coding club for primary school children that is providing them with additional exposure to the real world applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The goal of this project is to start addressing the chronic shortage of cyber skills in the UK and encourage more diversity in the sector, with a specific focus on aiding social mobility. This is achieved by targeting the program at children from primary schools with higher pupil premium rates.
The club is initially being run for Year 5 and 6 students from Elmhurst School in Aylesbury, an Academy of the Great Learners Trust, with the intent to further their interest of STEM from an early age. It is running for six weeks over the summer term, and will see its participants create their own, personalised infinity mirrors with a coded control system activating different colours on the LED lights running along the outside of the mirror.
We believe that by providing children with new learning opportunities and additional insight to the practical applications of STEM, we can help them unlock a new passion – and ultimately provide a long-term boost to the cyber security sector.
“There is a pressing need for more cyber security skills in the UK,” says Marion Stewart, CEO, Red Helix. “As security providers, we have a responsibility to address this, not only now, but looking towards the future as well. Through the coding club, we aim to mitigate the impact of future skills shortages by planting a much-needed seed of inspiration at a younger age – with a focus on greater inclusion from a more diverse range of children and young people”.
Alongside the immediate educational potential of the coding club initiative, there are also aspirations to establish a long-term relationship between Red Helix and Elmhurst School, and to inspire other IT and cyber security companies to do the same. With cyber-crime consistently rising, the need for talent in the industry is growing. More partnerships between IT and cyber security organisations and educational institutes will help foster a new generation of cyber-literate individuals and make important steps towards bolstering the UK’s national cyber defences.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Red Helix in launching this coding club,” adds Dawn Hanwell, STEM leader and teacher at Elmhurst School. “It is great to see a local company taking an interest in our children’s future and providing them with expert knowledge. We can’t wait to see our students getting involved and we believe more schools would benefit from partnership like this”.
The idea behind the coding club initially came following a visit from Aylesbury’s then mayor, Cllr Tim Dixon, and Cllr Sherrilyn Bateman. This led Red Helix to approach Dawn Hanwell and Christine Sond, both teachers at Elmhurst, and put together a program that would enhance the children’s education by giving them access to expert learnings from a company that has decades of experience in the IT and Security industry.
While the first coding club is being run only for the children of Elmhurst School, we plan to bring the project to other schools in the future – including a more advanced club for secondary schools – and will gladly share details of the program with other schools and organisations to allow them to replicate it locally. Any companies interested in running a similar scheme who might benefit from the details or our program are welcome to contact us.