Midlothian youngsters learn to crack the jobs code

Library staff member Stephen Harris supporting a child at a coding class in Loanhead Library
Library staff member Stephen Harris supporting a child at a coding class in Loanhead Library

Young Midlothian people are receiving help to develop technology skills which will be vital for them in their future careers.

Children, aged eight and over, can now learn coding at their local library.

Preparing kids for the future - children attending a Midlothian Libraries coding class

Preparing kids for the future - children attending a Midlothian Libraries coding class

Some of you may ask ‘What is coding?’ Coding is computer programming. It is a language made up of words and numbers which tells your computer what you want it to do. When you learn to code you can make things happen on your computer – it can be used to create games, music, film, animation and also to develop websites.

Programming and associated digital skills are forecast by government to be in increasingly high demand in the job market, and code clubs are the first step in addressing a future skills gap by inspiring children and young people to get creative with computers.

Midlothian’s libraries are some of the first in Scotland to run code clubs, allowing young people to learn a wide variety of digital skills in a fun environment. Gorebridge, Penicuik, Dalkeith, Mayfield and Loanhead libraries all run regular, free code clubs. In addition, a code club is supported at Rosewell community centre.

Library assistant David MacDonald has been training library staff across Scotland while on secondment to the Scottish Library and Information Council. He said: “Coding skills are increasingly being seen as desirable in the employment market and these fun sessions for beginners provide a good introduction. Programmers, developers, computer scientists and software engineers needed coding skills but it looks like in the future these skills will be needed for a variety of roles. I would therefore urge youngsters to come along and find out more.”

Library staff member Isobel Allen assisting children at a coding class in Loanhead Library

Library staff member Isobel Allen assisting children at a coding class in Loanhead Library

Library development officer Stephen Harris added: Our code clubs have been a great success but we are not content to rest on our laurels – we want to expand what’s on offer and give Midlothian’s young people the chance to fully develop their potential in this field. The main thing is that the code clubs are fun – children are learning key skills without knowing it, and having a great time into the bargain creating their own animations, computer games and cartoons.”

If any adults would like to volunteer to help out at the code clubs, they should get in touch. This is a great opportunity to gain new skills for the employment market and also to help support young people.To find out about coding sessions at your library or to volunteer to help run classes, contact service development officer Christopher Godfree-Morrell on 01968 664050 or christopher.godfree-morrell@midlothian.gov.uk