The Scottish arm of the Association For Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK) has introduced its NextGen Coding Club for those aged eight to 17 of all races, but with special emphasis on children in the minority ethnic community.
AFBE-UK, which promotes diversity and inclusion and specifically encourages the pursuit of careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) disciplines, has already hosted its first club activities – but a programme of events is scheduled for throughout 2021.
The next event is taking place in the week commencing March 29 with the theme of Games and Animation with Scratch.
Club activities take place live online so that facilitators – including developers, programmers and software engineers – can provide one-to-one support for the young coders.
Programme lead Dr Urenna Adegbotolu said: “The beauty of the coding club is that the young people are co-creators of the course curriculum and they engage in educating each other, so they’re acquiring other life skills during each session.”
The launch of the club comes after a recent survey of prospective club members showed a keen interest in games and animation, robotics and app creation in particular.
Aberdeen-based AFBE-UK Scotland says it runs mentoring programmes that offer all young people support with their Stem careers. This includes its schools programme NextGen, where industry leaders and professionals give advice to pupils through fun events; Transition, where industry leaders give advice to aspiring engineering professionals on how to enter the job market; and Real Projects, where industry professionals pass on their expertise.
The organisation added that the programmes usually take place face to face, but are in the meantime happening online due to the pandemic.
The AFBE-UK was co-founded by Dr Ollie Folayan to address the underrepresentation of people of black and minority ethnic origin in engineering. He also set up AFBE-UK Scotland.
An advocate of fostering a pipeline of new talent, he has said: “AFBE-UK has a mentoring programme and we have seen over the years the difference it makes.”