College spurs Angus kids into computing

William Pirie and Laurie Shields, of Langlands PS, Forfar, experience virtual reality at D&A College.

William Pirie and Laurie Shields, of Langlands PS, Forfar, experience virtual reality at D&A College.

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D&A College opened its doors to 400 primary and secondary school pupils in a series of short events to introduce young people to computer science.

More than 400 children, representing 18 primary and secondary schools across Angus, descended on Gardyne Campus, for a series of practical demonstrations on, robotics, hardware, web development, virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D animation aimed at inspiring children not just to play with computers but develop a deeper understanding of the technology.

“While designed primarily as an introduction to the field in a fun, playful environment, it is hoped the event will inspire young people to take more of an interest in both studying and developing a career in an industry that is expected to show massive growth over the coming decade,” said Gillian McGovern, creative and digital industries course leader, who organised the event.

“The rapid growth of this £4 billion industry has stretched the supply chain in terms of recruitment with many employers voicing concerns about finding the right people with the right skills.

“We are also targeting girls, as the digital industry remains very much a male-dominated area.”

Government figures estimate as many as 84,000 people are already working in Scotland’s digital technologies industry which continues to grow faster than any other industry in the country, with a projected figure of 11,000 new recruits needed each year to meet current and future demands.

“The education sector has been slow in engaging young people in robotics so we offered the chance to pre-programme a robot to perform a series of tasks,” said Gillian.

“The pupils also enjoyed engaging with Scratch where they programmed their own interactive stories, games, and animations.”