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Funding boost helps local tech clubs give young Kiwis a better digital future

24 Aug 2018

Code Club Aotearoa, Digital Natives Academy and 21C Skills Lab will be able to help young Kiwis explore their digital futures even more, thanks to partnerships with Spark Foundation.

Spark Foundation is the charitable arm of Spark New Zealand and every year the Foundation provides a grant to community social good organisations that focus on digital enablement and education.

Code Club Aotearoa is a network of coding clubs for kids between ages 9 and 13. It teaches them computer programming and software design.

Code Cloud Aotearoa general manager Michael Trengrove says the network can now provide more courses to under-represented communities.

“More kiwi kids than ever will now have the opportunity to learn the digital skills that can lift them to take their place as digital citizens in a globally connected world,” Trengrove says.

Rotorua-based Digital Native Academy (aptly known as DNA) is the second partner. It helps young people and their families create and develop digital tools such as code, eSports leagues, virtual tikanga integration and safe interaction with technology.

“What’s exciting about this innovative partnership is the ability to co-design and co-build a series of digital hubs across the country, forming the basis of a connected smart network, all based on the youthful energy of gaming, animation, robotics, drones and embedded culture,” says DNA cofounder Potaua Biasiny-Tule.

“DNA is also about fun, and we love that the Spark Foundation love fun too. So together we look forward to the exciting digital journey ahead. Kia kokiri tatau!”

21C Skills Lab is taking a different approach: It will work with the Spark Foundation to bring the Like A Boss (L.A.B) programme to 30 secondary schools across the country.

L.A.B will help students build their own people or planet focused business and develop 21C skills along the way. Each student is given $20 of startup capital and the tools to create, launch and operate their own venture.

Spark Foundation lead Kate Thomas says no young New Zealander should be left behind in the digital world.

“We believe every young New Zealander deserves to have the opportunities to learn the skills needed to thrive in the modern digital economy.”

Spark Foundation has recently completed a five-year-long commitment to Manaiakalani Education Trust. The Foundation also operates Givealittle, a crowdfunding platform for social good.

“The purpose of these partnerships is to be the catalyst for change that creates a lasting impact; working alongside organisations to create and scale programmes that inspire kids to build the skills and capabilities now required,” Thomas concludes.

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