Creating bright futures for schoolchildren in a digital world

Children brainstorming invention ideas at MakerClub (Photograph: Chris Quigley) SUS-180404-094329001
Children brainstorming invention ideas at MakerClub (Photograph: Chris Quigley) SUS-180404-094329001

A Brighton tech club for kids is on a mission to provide every primary school in the city with an invention or design club to help train up the innovators of the future.

MakerClub, a educational technology company, said it wants to ‘transform the way young people access future skills’ by providing schools with the latest computer hardware and online learning tools. It said this will help to enable children as young at eight to start thinking critically about local and global challenges in areas like pollution and climate change.

Children create fast prototypes from craft materials and electronics (Photograph: Chris Quigley) SUS-180404-094346001

Children create fast prototypes from craft materials and electronics (Photograph: Chris Quigley) SUS-180404-094346001

It said by 2030, it’s estimated that up to 60 per cent of the worlds jobs will be in industries or sectors that don’t even exist yet, and by giving young people the tools to create with technology, it will make them more resilient in a rapidly changing world.

MakerClub helps young people understand concepts like 3D design, electronics, coding and design thinking, and said future employers will be looking for staff who can solve complex problems, think critically and creatively.

Declan Cassidy, MakerClub’s head of impact, said: “While it’s impossible to know what the future will bring, we can take a pretty good guess.

“We know that having a good grounding in coding will still be seen as a positive and we also know that those with creative skills will also be highly prized by employers - invention and design brings these together. By doing this in schools, we can also make sure those from low income families in the city are not left behind.”

MakerClub inspires children to learn creative and practical skills in digital and technology (Photograph: Chris Quigley) SUS-180404-094400001

MakerClub inspires children to learn creative and practical skills in digital and technology (Photograph: Chris Quigley) SUS-180404-094400001

MakerClub has teamed up with Wired Sussex, Albion in the Community and Brighton and Hove City Council to run the #BrightFutures campaign – 12 months of events, free courses, and conversation around what the world of work will look like in Brighton and Hove by 2030.

It has launched a campaign to raise £200,000 to put an invention club in every Brighton primary school by September 2019, and has so far raised £120,000, with the first three schools launching trails in April this year.

Westdene, St Bartholomew’s and St Andrews are the first schools to benefit, and MakerClub said all the electronics, craft materials and teacher training needed to deliver the clubs are provided free of charge to schools, funded by local digital technology companies including Pragmatic, Propellernet, MAGInteractive, ClearLeft and Ribot.

Simon Cooke, Pragmatic’s marketing director, said: “We are so proud to be part of BrightFutures, for many reasons. The city of Brighton and it’s digital culture has provided our business with many opportunities, and seems only fair to invest in its future. The workshops and schools programmes are an excellent initiative, access to this kind of tech normally isn’t available to every young person, but BrightFutures has found a way to make that happen. This is about keeping our city at the forefront of the UK tech industry, now and in the future.”

Declan Cassidy, Makers Club Brighton SUS-150409-172856001

Declan Cassidy, Makers Club Brighton SUS-150409-172856001

Oona Richardson, from Westdene Primary school, one of the first schools to take part, said: “We are super excited to be involved in the initiative especially at such an early stage. We really feel that we would have a huge interest here at Westdene Primary for the club (from both staff and pupils!) and it’s amazing to be involved.”

The move by MakerClub comes after Damian Hinds, the education secretary said: “Schools need to prepare young people for a digital revolution and a fast changing jobs market.”

To find out more about how MakerClub plans to address this, visit: makerclub.org/brightfutures