Apps for Good focuses on UK skills shortage


Next generation of digital developers shortlisted for Apps for Good Awards 2013

Following several months of collaborations with educational establishments across the country, the names of the 120 finalists in the Apps for Good Awards have been revealed.

Backed by major companies in the high tech industry, the Apps for Good movement is aimed at assisting teachers in the UK to reduce the technical skills shortage in the country.

In London alone there were more than 80,000 new technology-based job openings in the past two years yet, last year, only 3,420 students took Computing A-level in the whole of England. Out of those, just 255 were girls.

The opensource technology education initiative, run by not-for-profit organisation CDI, enables young people from 11 to 18 years old to develop their digital skills and knowledge, and create exciting new apps for mobile phones, tablets and social media platforms.

Next year alone, Apps for Good will reach more than 20,000 students, with aims to grow to 175,000 in the next three years.

The Apps for Good Awards 2013 are sponsored by TalkTalk, Barclaycard, BlackBerry, Dell, Thomson Reuters and SAP, and the event will take place at the LSO St Luke's on Old Street, London, on 11 June 2013. The finalists will be invited to attend a Dragon's Den-style workshop event, where they will pitch their ideas in front of a formidable panel of industry leaders, to compete for the opportunity to have their app prototype developed, and eventually launched commercially.

The apps students and young people have developed fall into several categories, with themes including 'Keep Moving', 'Learning and Information' and 'Saving, Spending and Giving'.

With imminent Government changes to the UK National Curriculum planned for the teaching of ICT in Britain's schools, the second annual Apps for Good Awards comes at a critical time for both teachers and pupils in the UK.

Apps for Good CEO, Iris Lapinski, commented: 'We welcome any changes to the National Curriculum that will better prepare young people for work and create fresh talent in the digital and creative industries. Proactive initiatives like Apps for Good are leading the way, making significant breakthroughs in learning methods, assisting teachers and educators to ensure that students have the right credentials for the fast-paced, technology-driven world in which we are now fully immersed.'

Focusing on low income and under-represented communities, Apps for Good engages young people in app creation through an online platform and in-classroom training, unlocking the confidence and talent of the students through creative learning programmes, in which they can use new technologies to design products that can make a significant difference to their lives, or the lives of others. Its ultimate goal is to change the future of technology education and build a new generation of tech entrepreneurs in the UK and around the world.

Apps for Good has built partnerships with formal and informal education organisations including primary and secondary schools, further education colleges, and youth plus community centres. The organisation trains educators to deliver the apps creation course to young people, and then matches them with professional designers, developers and entrepreneurs to help take their ideas forward.

The courses cover all key aspects of new product development, from idea generation, feasibility and deciding on business models to product design and marketing. Young people work together as teams to find real issues they want to tackle and how best to solve them through apps. With guidance from their Apps for Good trained educators, peers and Apps for Good expert volunteers, students receive hands-on experience of all the steps in new software product development focused on a range of different platforms.


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