Getting kids into coding and design is key to plugging the skills gap, says Apadmi

Mobile app developer Apadmi is taking an innovative approach to plugging the technical skills gap.

The UK already has a huge shortage of people with the technical skills to fill roles up and down the country, and the UK’s exit from the European Union is likely to make matters worse by restricting the flow of talent from within the EU.

What’s needed is more young people to follow a career in IT, so Apadmi recently spent the day at a primary school in Manchester with the aim of helping 10 and 11-year-olds to become interested in mobile, apps and technology in general.

The company says on its blog that children in primary schools need to get excited about technology, and to develop an appetite for coding and design.

“Children at school now should be encouraged to learn HTML, CSS, JAVA, Objective-C and SWIFT with the same gusto as our teachers use when promoting the importance of French, German and Spanish,” the company argues.

“It’s not a difficult case to make that the tech languages above will most likely serve the careers of today’s 10 and 11-year-olds better than that of a secondary spoken language.

“What’s more, these skills will help to drive the UK’s economy forward faster and stronger, helping to create jobs, opportunities and a better standard of living for the entire nation.”

Heading into the classroom, Apadmi’s designer, Matt, introduced the kids to the basics of UI and UX in mobile apps.

He explained: “Imagine being sat on a concrete block because you’re tired. It does the job, but it’s not that comfortable. Now imagine sitting on a chair. Better, right? Well, what if you could be sat on a couch with your feet up? That’s UX. All three do the job of helping you rest. Only the last one is truly enjoyable though.”

Later on, the children were shown photos of women who work in high-profile (and well-paid) jobs in technology, demonstrating that it’s definitely not just for the boys.

And at the end there was a group activity in which the kids planned out the sort of apps they would like to develop to help in their everyday lives — with the results including solutions to help them with their homework, first aid, car sharing, weight management and nutrition, and even help for children with depression who needed someone to talk to.

Reflecting on the day, Apadmi said that it was a surprise to find out how much knowledge today’s 10 and 11-year-olds already have on mobile technology. However, if we want the next Google, Facebook or Amazon to come out of the UK, we need to start introducing coding languages to the curriculum right now.

“But even before that, let’s get kids excited about technology,” Apadmi said.

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