AOL UK has launched YouBuild, a competition to engage and inspire school children to learn how to code.
In partnership with international charity and educational partner, Free The Children, as well as Codeacademy, YouBuild is tasking pupils to help their school and local community through the power of code. According to research by GFK, 45 percent of business leaders at Tech City said a shortage of skilled workers was their biggest challenge in tech in the UK.
Working with Free The Children’s partner schools, YouBuild will offer over 12,000 young people across the country, aged between 8-16 years old, the chance to enter the competition.
Pupils from schools partnered with Free The Children wishing to take part, need to submit ideas to their teacher for a website that they think could benefit their school and local community.
The winning idea will be selected by a panel of judges from AOL, Codeacademy, Free The Children and 15 year-old Amy Mather, who was awarded the European Digital Girl of Europe Award by The European Commission.
The winning class will be provided with laptops from AOL and will spend a day working with AOL developers and Codeacademy, learning how to build the website. AOL will continue to help the winning school manage the site once it has been built.
The competition is closely tied to AOL’s mission, to unleash the world’s greatest creators of culture and code. It also speaks to AOL’s broader corporate citizenship strategy and commitment to creating opportunities for future leaders, through better access to technology and education. Last year, AOL’s commitment to inspire youth in coding kicked off with a partnership with Girls Who Code, a US organisation working to close the gender gap in technology and engineering. The partnership saw AOL give five Girls Who Code alumni the opportunity to take over AOL owned Cambio.com ahead of its re-launch.
AOL sits at the intersection of culture and code, bringing together award-winning editorial brands including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget and Makers together with market-leading advertising technology platforms, that connect consumers, brands and publishers.
Graham Moysey, Head of International, AOL, said: “All around us there is a push for more coding in schools and never has there been a better time for young people to get involved. I’m really excited that we can provide kids with the opportunity to build a website leaning on the expertise of our team of talented in-house developers and really create change in their school and local community.”
Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children said: “Today’s generation of young people have the power to create and lead real systematic change. This competition is a great opportunity for them to use coding to bring their ideas for social change to life and make a difference in their school and local community.”
Rachel Swidenbank, International Lead for Codecademy, said: “Codecademy is proud to be a partner of YouBuild. We believe that anyone, anywhere should have the opportunity to learn the digital skills needed in the 21st century: coding. We are really excited to be working with even more young people, demonstrating how coding can be used creatively to help solve problems they may face in their school or local communities.”
The competition opens on March 5th 2015 and will close on May 3rd 2015. The winner will be announced on May 11th 2015.
For further information on the competition go here: YouBuild.aol.co.uk