Could the next big coding sensation come from Exeter? Young programmers urged to sign up to ‘Festival of Code’ this summer

Could the next big coding sensation come from Exeter? Young programmers urged to sign up to ‘Festival of Code’ this summer

Could the next big coding sensation come from Exeter? Young programmers urged to sign up to ‘Festival of Code’ this summer

First published in News

YOUNG children from Exeter with a keen eye for coding are being urged to sign up to a major coding competition which is taking place across the UK this summer between July 28 and August 3.

The Met Office in Exeter is this year a host centre for the Festival of Code, which will see under 19s from the area be presented with real world problems which they will be challenged to address through their self-taught hacking skills.

The annual Festival of Code is organised by Young Rewired State, a not-for-profit organisation whose aim it is to find and foster every young person with a love of coding and a determination to teach themselves technological skills.

They will be supported by the organisation’s team of experts to help them create websites, prototypes and inventive applications, alongside peers with the same passion for coding.

The Festival of Code will take place in 58 cities across the UK and will cumulate in a grand finale weekend, whereby each of the centres will descend on the i-DAT at Plymouth University for a supervised weekend of celebrations from Friday 1st August to Sunday 3rd August.

The initiative is being supported by The Met Office, The University of Plymouth amongst others.

During the finale weekend, the Exeter youngsters will have the chance to present their designs back to a panel of judges, meet fellow peers and celebrate a week of achievements. Judges will be a mix of influencers and industry names who are spearheading coding across the country.

As per tradition, Young Rewired State has also put together an impressive line-up of guest speakers, who will take to the stage on the Friday to share their own experiences from within the technology sector. Confirmed speakers include leader of the Hour of Code in the UK Avid Larizadeh, musician and CEO of Interlude Yoni Bloch and George Mpanga – also known as George the Poet.

This year's Festival of Code will also see the launch of a new collaboration between YRS and American Express. The ‘Hyperlocal’ programme will pledge to continue engagement between the kids and their centres after the Festival ends on August 3rd. This will include a number of follow up sessions whereby the youngsters can continue to develop the prototypes they created at the festival of code, continue to connect with their peers and have access to a number of resources to help them along the way.

For the majority, technology has become a necessity in everyday life and this has resulted in a need for a workforce with the ability to code. Coding is needed to create software that provides us with our iPhones, computers, apps, games and much more. Young Rewired State believes that if children with a natural desire to code are encouraged to delve into their passion, they will be well-equipped with a set of hugely desirable skills for their future.

Since its establishment, Young Rewired State has rapidly grown to be a huge independent global network of children and this year will be its 6th anniversary.

During the week, the youngsters will also have the chance to access open data from the world’s leading weather and climate service, The Met Office. The ‘DataPoints API’ technology will give all festival goers unique access to weather forecasts, data and observations to keep them challenged and encourage innovation.

Last year’s Festival of Code saw designs such as ProjectHermes, a platform for outing internet trolls, Mortune, a music app which played new artists according to your preferences and Establish.Me, a website which unites town councils, residents and businesses and take advantage of empty shop spaces scoop top prizes. The week proved that with the support of Young Rewired State and by working alongside like-minded peers, the youngsters could confront everyday problems and create viable solutions.

Emma Mulqueeny, CEO Young Rewired State, said: “Young Rewired State’s ambition is to find and foster every child driven to teach themselves to code. Connect them to each other, and a community of mentors, to solve real world problems through open data.

The Festival of Code is our annual week-long celebration. It provides these young people with an environment that emboldens their passion for coding and programming. It gives them a chance to work in partnership with their coding peers, learn from the experts and create new digital solutions to problems we all face! The week will be very hands on with plenty of data to get stuck into, as well as the chance to hear from some top speakers from across the industry.

We can’t wait to visit Exeter this year and celebrate the nation’s young coding talent once again – we are urging youngsters all across the area to sign up and join us this for what will be a week of fun, hacks and challenges.”

Robert Dunn, centre co-ordinator in Exeter said: “We’re delighted to be opening the doors of the Met Office in Exeter this summer and host the Festival of Code this year. This really is a fantastic event, and an invaluable one in giving the next generation a voice and helping to harness their skills for the future.

I look forward to seeing what designs come out of Exeter this year and helping these youngsters in this exciting digital journey they’re on.”

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