ST JOHN’s, Waterloo, has launched an initiative, “Digital Futures”, that seeks to help young people gain new skills and find work.
As part of St John’s recently launched charity “The Bridge at Waterloo”, which tackles youth unemployment in Lambeth, Digital Futures — a free four-week course — seeks to give young people a start in the technology industry by teaching coding, digital marketing, and web and app building skills. Funded by the Walcott Foundation, the course was put together with the help of Citizens UK and the Good Jobs Campaign.
Sixteen students are taking part in the course, which runs from until 31 July. At the end of the course, they will design and build an app for the interactive dance production David, at the Strive Festival at the Southbank Centre, from 6-7 August.
One of the students, Kellyana Smith, said: “It’s a combination of things that I know and I’m already good at, and also learning new things as well. It’s really good for me because it’s expanding my knowledge. . . My dream is to work in the tech industry, and this course is part of that.”
Another student, Richard Emmanuel, said: “I’m one of the people here who have never coded before; so I’ve learnt a huge amount. . . Mixing it with the social and behavioural aspects of how to be an employee, and to better yourself, makes it even more interesting. . . I’m beginning to feel more confident about finding work.”
Alasdair Blackwell, a course tutor and award-winning co-founder of the education and technology company Decoded, said: “This is a creative-coding boot camp for young people struggling to get a foothold on the work ladder. The students come from all walks of life.”
He hopes that the course will “propel” the young people forward, and provide employers with “a fresh dose of energetic young talent”.
The Vicar of St John’s, Canon Giles Goddard, said: “This is the first project in our community-engagement programme, and I’m very excited. It’s all part of our redevelopment plans for St John’s, Waterloo, where we soon hope to build a state-of-the-art education centre.”
St John’s will work further with the students when they have completed the course, to help them find jobs. The National Theatre and Tech City UK are among those who have offered placements.