Last week more than 75 high school students from FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics program spent the day at the sprawling Microsoft headquarters in Mississauga. They were there to celebrate coding at the annual Microsoft YouthSpark event. A team of senior Microsoft staffers devoted their day to spend time with these students offering them tips, inspiration and help in charting a career path in the tech world. The students sat in groups where they did coding and got a sense of what it took to be successful in the rapidly evolving world of technology.
FIRST Robotics Canada and Microsoft believe that every young person should have access to the digital skills necessary to participate in a world being transformed by technology. With technological advancements driving significant economic growth, the skills required for high-demand jobs are rapidly changing. By making computer science education more accessible, young people can be more equipped for the future. YouthSpark Live events like this give youth the opportunity to connect with mentors, understand the workplace and the factors driving technological advancements.
“We are extremely proud of our relationship with Microsoft and grateful for the opportunities they’ve provided for students in our programs,” says Mark Breadner, president of FIRST Robotics Canada. “Microsoft is leading the way in providing coding and programming education and outreach for kids and youth across Canada and together we are a powerful force to help arm our future leaders with the digital skills they need for tomorrow.”
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international non-profit organization designed to inspire students to pursue studies and careers in science, engineering and technology.
In an interview with Can-India, Rekha Rao National Technical Director, Dynamics 365 at Microsoft spoke about the need to encourage more female students to consider IT as a profession which is hopelessly male dominated for now. “Statistics show that girls are interested in Math from Kindergarten but when they reach grade 9 their interest drops, the challenge is to help them continue forward,” she said.
Rekha Rao also pointed out how fortunate we were in Canada where there are many opportunities for girls to access STEM subjects. “I became an engineer in technology in India at a time there were no computers or cellphones. My class was mostly boys and the one person who really encouraged me to pursue technology and never quit was my mother,” she added.
Having a mentor and organizations like First Robotics and programs like Microsoft’s YouthSpark will go a long way in helping and encouraging youth to acquire the necessary digital skills so crucial in the workplace. – CINEWS