Posts Tagged ‘Computer

There is some serious talent  on the streets and in the bedrooms of Manchester.  Young people with the kind of creativity we would give our right arm for, Manchester’s future is in their hands.

A teacher I met at the BBC 21st Century Classroom in Salford, told me about his 15 year old student (let’s call him John) who made £5 here, £10 there, by designing My Space pages for his friends. The teacher was frustrated at not having the ability to help John take his digital talent to the next level, nor access to appropriate business start up advice for this teen entrepreneur. When asked what he would do after his GCSE’s, John told the teacher that he’d follow into his father’s shopfitting business, he didn’t consider college, work in the creative sector, or starting his own business as possible options.

To be clear, I am in no way critical of John’s choice. Good design is needed in the physical world as well as the digital (if not more so!).  However,  I do think the story raises the question of how we best nurture young talent, both in and outside schools.

I like the idea of business advisors having surgeries in schools and youth clubs, helping young people to think about markets for their ideas, before they get squelched by the ‘real world’.  I’d love to hear of any case studies where this works (or doesn’t).

We’re lucky to live in a city like Manchester, where projects and partners are aiming to resolve  some of these issues.  Robots have been built at the  MADLAB,  and last year Innovation Manchester and the Manchester Innovation Investment Fund supported Creative Open Access – growing the inner geek in some of Manchester’s brightest young people.

Now a new course, also to be held at Cornerhouse, will not only nurture creativity in 18-24 year olds, but also introduce the skills to progress a career in the creative industries

At the core of the scheme, the kids at the App School will develop their ideas for an iPhone ‘app’, and they’ll work on those ideas throughout the programme. In addition, they’ll get training on things such as project management, team-working, presenting their work, and business & financial management. At the very end of the scheme, they’ll be pitching their ideas through to a panel of some of the city’s best creative companies – who, if they like what they see, will be able to offer them internships. If the ideas are good, the companies will actually create the ‘app’ as a joint venture.

If you know of any young people in Manchester, please help spread the word!

The course is being run by The White Room, in partnership with Manchester City Council, MMU, and Cornerhouse, and applications close next Sunday, 21st February.


The Gallery of all Animation ’09 Award winning films can now be viewed on the Manchester University website

Watch Louis Durrant’s animation to the tune of   ‘It’s Hip to be Square’ by Huey Lewis & the News –  it’s a feel good way to spend 1 minute of your day!

Louis won the Electronic Arts ‘Overall Best‘ Award, and is 14 years old.

What a great way to attract talent!

This morning I had the privilege to view the shortlisted work of young people who had entered the UK Schools Animation Awards.

This is the second year that the University of Manchester Computer Science department has invited school children and Sixth Formers to enter  animated films  to this competition.

More than 800 films were entered from 200 schools all across the UK.  One minute in length, they were produced in Scratch, Alice or Flash – funny, informative and incredibly creative.  Seven judges picked the winners and runners up in categories ranging from Key Stage 2 to 16+.

That’s right, these film makers ranged in age from 7 to 19 years old. The winner of the ‘Most Educational Film’ category highlighted the plight of the Spanish Lynx. I remember drawing a Lynx in pencil crayons when I was at Junior school – the fact that a young girl of similar age had animated and narrated a film on the subject is astounding!

This is a great initiative by the University of Manchester – year on year, they will be connecting and developing relationships with the Lasseters and Spielburgs of tomorrow .

The spokesman from the sponsor Electronic Arts urged the young film-makers to opt for traditional subjects such as maths and sciences. I’m confident that they will not only remember his words when choosing their degrees, but will also remember an inspiring and educational day in  Manchester’s  Museum of Science and Industry when picking their place to study.

Innovation Manchester

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