In order to address a future skills shortage, the BBC is taking part in an initiative to give away a million free computers to students that are starting secondary school. Reports state that a skills shortage of some 1.4 million will occur over the next five years. The UK-wide Make it Digital initiative, will provide a “Micro Bit” coding device to every year-7 child in the British Isles by the end of this coming autumn. In addition to the roll out of the devices, BBC programming courses are being offered too.

The “Micro Bit” device is a tiny wearable computer with a mini LED display. Children will be able to  program the device in a number of different ways. The device is compatible with both PC and Mac computers. The “Micro Bit” device is designed to assist students in developing their understanding of the physical concepts of computing and technology.

As soon as they have made enough advanced progress, the students can then plug the device into more complicated products such as the Raspberry Pi, Kano, Galileo or Arduino. This will then hopefully foster their love of coding and they will continue to learn.

Another part to the initiative is a plan that aims to offer 5,000 young unemployed people a traineeship. This program will begin in summer this year and will be run out of the BBC Birmingham offices. The course runs for nine weeks and will teach the basic digital skills of coding, such as creating websites and video for the web.

The program includes input from BBC brands and they have also pooled support from numerous big name organisations such as ARM, BT, Google, Microsoft and Samsung. Assistance from other firms like ComputerScience4Fun, Code Club, Tech City UK and Apps for Good will also play key roles.

Anything that is given away for free is always good and any free tech is even better! The fact that it will help the next generation of school leavers to become passionate about technology and how we use it to interact with our world is massive bonus. Who knows, hopefully the 1.4 million will be hacked down with this program?

[image via Wired]

SOURCE: TechRadar