Clare Sutcliffe. She’s British. She’s bold. She’s 33-years-old. And she’s teaching the world to code. As an engineering graduate, meeting the women making their mark in the technology world is inspiring, so the chance to interview Clare was not one I could turn down.
Clare’s story is this. She worked at a creative agency in London and quickly realised she needed code to build her ideas the way she wanted them. Becoming frustrated with the lack of teaching material on the basics of coding, she decided to establish the Code Club in her homeland of Britain in 2012.
The rapidly growing non-profit organisation teaches children the basics of coding to inspire them to build their ideas. In just four years, Code Club has gone global, growing to eight countries – including Australia (but more on that later). The concept is equal parts simple and fantastical. A Code Club can exist anywhere where there is a volunteer to drive it. Clubs are full of fun and colourful programs to teach primary aged students the fundamentals of programming languages such as Python, HTML, CSS and Scratch.
Clare is down under from the UK to celebrate Code Club Australia’s second birthday – and I was lucky enough to score some time with her and peek into the world of the woman who started up one of the most successful coding programs in the world. This brings me to my question, why should you code with Clare?
1. She is a creative designer
So wait, you can code and be creative? Yep. Clare’s main motivation for establishing Code Club was she quickly realised coding was an essential tool for her projects while at a creative agency in London. It’s time we see the coding life as a way to express ourselves creatively, not restricted to engineers and developers.
2. She has overcome the challenges of going global
Taking a local non-profit organisation global is tough. However Clare and her team have managed to deal with the challenges as they have extended the program to over eight countries and 8,000 clubs. And this is only the beginning…
3. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a rural or urban setting
Starting up a Code Club outside the UK where the population is comparatively dense means the team has had to navigate rural areas in Australia. And what has emerged? Access to Code Club for both rural and urban children. Something we’re passionate about at Telstra is supporting young people to learn digital skills, like coding, no matter where they live. Code Club is a shining example of how it can be achieved.
4. You can help confidence grow
Teachers have reported back that children’s confidence has increased as well and in some cases, attendance! Who knows, maybe they have just given the next Elon Musk the tools they need to change the world. What Clare has done is make coding fun – enabling young people to express their personality no matter if they’re interested in fashion or robots – or painting.
5. You will be part of a greater movement
Code Club has recently merged with the Raspberry Pi foundation, a charity which promotes the study of computer science in schools. This merger will provide the chance for Australian school children to learn how to apply coding to robotics thereby rounding off the teaching program. They aim to bring coding to every community on earth and give all children the opportunity to learn. Now that is something I’d want to be a part of!
So have I convinced you to #getkidscoding with Code Club yet? If so, head over to the Code Club Australia website (https://codeclubau.org/) and be a part of the Australian community that has, in two years, reached the incredible milestone of 1,500 clubs.
Telstra and Code Club Australia
Telstra Foundation was the founding founder of Code Club Australia – investing more than $1m to give every child in Australia the chance to learn code and train teachers how to do it. Read more about Code Club Australia at www.codeclubau.org and more on the Telstra Foundation’s partnership with Code Club at https://telstrafoundation.com/projects/code-club-australia/.