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Published: 14 February 2019

Coding challenge recognised for inspirational work

A partnership between the Department of Computer Science, Lord Wandsworth College and Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, has been recognised in a national awards for its initiative to inspire the next generation of coders and software developers.

Finalists at the award night
Stella, second right, with members of the partnership

The Open Schools Coding Competition (OSCC) aims to promote STEM opportunities to everyone, including girls and underrepresented groups, and help in bridging the gender and diversity gap in IT.

The competition was a finalist in the ‘E-Skills Initiative of the Year’ award at the 2019 Women in IT Awards. The category is open to organisations that have undertaken an initiative that encouraged and helped women and girls to improve their digital skills and consider a career in the ICT sector.

Stella Kazamia, Teaching Fellow, said: “I am very happy and proud that we were nominated and shortlisted into the finals; it was such a great experience and I think it was a fantastic opportunity to see what other people are doing towards bridging the gender and diversity gap.

“The aim is to inspire pupils about what computing can achieve beyond the classroom to have a real-world impact, to show kids that coding is fun and help them see the power in open collaboration.”

The Government recently said that the UK needs an estimated 1.2 million more people with specialist digital skills by 2022, yet access to talent is still a challenge for tech communities across the UK, according to the 2018 Tech Nation Report. Women make up 14.4% of all people working in STEM in the UK, despite being about half of the workforce.

The OSCC is in its second year and encourages students aged of 11 to 13 to work in teams using open-source software and tools and develop mobile applications for a charity of their choice.

Last year’s final was held at the University of Surrey with over 100 students showcasing their work. The winners came from Bristol Grammar School whose app was developed to support the charity Children’s World

Dr Helen Treharne, Head of Computer Science, said: “The Department was pleased to be able to host the final of the Open Schools Coding Competition and we are delighted to see school pupils getting involved in coding with such passion and enthusiasm.”

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