A successful tech company that teaches computer coding to students has been given a $60,000 boost by Youth Minister Nikki Kaye.
Online Education Ltd, which operates as Code Avengers, will use the funding to help around 400 young people take part in coding-related challenges and product development exercises.
"The young people will practise core skills such as coding, which is how you instruct a computer to create software, apps and websites," she says. "Tomorrow's world will rely even more on technology, so this is an important way to support young people to develop both the skills and the attitude needed to succeed in that world."
Ms Kaye was joined by Hamilton East MP David Bennett at the University of Waikato on Friday to announce the funding and congratulate everyone behind the initiative.
Coding an increasingly valuable skill
Code Avengers was formed by University of Waikato PhD student Michael Walmsley in 2012.
He says coding is an important and highly valuable skill and the number of opportunities to use coding will only increase in the future.
"Not only is there high demand for good coders in the IT industry, but these skills are becoming increasingly valuable in a variety of industries, from business to engineering," Walmsley says.
"There is a whole range of individuals who have coding skills and that gives them a lot of extra value."
Starting at a young age
Walmsley taught himself coding as a 12-year-old and wanted to create a resource that enabled teens to learn to code effectively, even if they weren't at a school that taught coding.
He has hosted Code Camps - where groups of young people work in teams to learn from experts and build technology - in New Zealand and around the world, and says the new funding will likely mean about eight Code Camps for 50 students will be held throughout the region.
He hopes the camps will inspire many more young people to consider careers involving coding, and that in years to come we will see many more successful NZ tech companies.
"It's about opening the eyes of as many kids as we can to the amazing opportunities to change the world through coding."