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Empowering Youth with Digital Skills: Insights from Meet and Code Ambassador, Jamie Holroyde

Discover the inspiring journey of this year’s Meet and Code Ambassador, as he empowers youth with digital skills and shares valuable insights on bridging the digital skills gap.

#WorldYouthSkillsDay #MeetandCode #amazonfutureengineer #SAP4Good
14.07.2023

At Meet and Code, World Youth Skills Day holds a special place on our calendar every year. It serves as a global reminder of the utmost importance of equipping young people with the necessary skills for 21st-century employment. This cause resonates deeply with our core mission at Meet and Code, which is to empower youth with digital skills and create equal opportunities for all. Our aim is to ensure that regardless of their background or circumstances, everyone is armed with the skills needed for a better future.

In light of this significant occasion, we had the privilege of sitting down with Jamie Holroyde, our Meet and Code Ambassador for 2023. During our conversation, Jamie shared his coding journey, the pivotal role he plays in imparting his skills to other young people, and his insights on closing the digital skills gap in Europe.

Igniting a passion for coding

Jamie embarked on his coding journey at the age of 11, and his love for this exciting field continues to thrive to this day. His initial exposure to coding came from a book called Get Coding, which taught him the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. However, it was when he learned about the Python programming language that truly ignited his passion for coding.

What drew Jamie to coding was his innate desire to create. "I was captivated by technology and had a deep-seated desire to build things that others could benefit from. So, I took it upon myself to learn how to code. It has since been a long and fulfilling journey that is far from over for me."

Throughout the years, Jamie has gained extensive knowledge and experience, working on numerous diverse projects. "Some of my most memorable projects include developing a 3D room scanner, simulating planetary orbits, and creating an AI program to play Flappy Bird. My journey started with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but Python became my first true programming language. Later, I expanded my repertoire to include C++, allowing me to work with Unreal Engine and Arduinos."

Jamie emphasizes his particular interest in the fields of AI and robotics, recognizing their pivotal roles in shaping the future. "These technologies will undoubtedly play a major role in our future, and I am thrilled to be a part of their development and evolution when I begin university in September. I am wholeheartedly committed to utilizing my skills and knowledge to help guide these technologies in the right direction."

7 years later, accessibility to digital skills is on the rise 

Reflecting on his self-taught coding journey, Jamie observes a significant increase in exposure to and accessibility of digital skills. "Today, there are countless online resources available for those who wish to learn coding or develop other tech skills, many of which are freely accessible." Jamie has also played an active role in enhancing the digital skills of young people by volunteering at a local youth group called Everything Electronics, led by Cromar Future Group. There, he teaches 8-14-year-olds about Unreal Engine 4, Python, and C++. "The students' enthusiasm and limitless curiosity never fail to astonish me. Each week, I am inspired by their eagerness to learn and their ability to grasp complex concepts."

A challenging path lies ahead to bridge the skills gap

While there are now more opportunities than ever for young people to acquire digital skills, Jamie believes that schools, governments, and other organizations can do more to raise awareness. "We must ensure that young people are equipped with the essential skills for the digital age. For instance, coding and digital skills should be integrated into curricula across Europe. All schools should have the necessary equipment, infrastructure, and skilled teachers. Non-profit organizations like Cromar Future Group should receive further support to reach more young people, and corporations can provide internships and work opportunities for those ready to enter the tech industry and gain insights into the business side of the field."

To inspire individuals interested in learning coding or developing other tech skills, Jamie’s advice is simple: start small. "Find a project that interests you and begin building it. With the wealth of online resources available, there's no reason not to dive in! Take it one step at a time and don't hesitate to ask for help. The journey may be long, but the rewards are well worth it."

Are you part of an NPO ready to help close the digital divide across Europe by hosting workshops to ignite the sparks of digital skills and coding among young people in your community? If you said yes, then Meet and Code is for you! Submit your creative ideas to stand a chance of receiving a grant of up to 500 euro to host your event. Learn more here: https://meet-and-code.org/gb/en/news-show/620