Burnaby high school launches Coding and Robotics Camp for refugee children

Jul 5 2017, 9:40 pm

In an effort to help young students develop technical skills and knowledge required for success in their future career goals, Burnaby’s Byrne Creek Secondary School has launched a pilot Coding and Robotics Camp.

“The youth are our future and we need to look after them,” said Raghwa Gopal, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan, a partner of the camp. “We need to provide them the skills and knowledge they need to grow personally and professionally.”

Focused primarily on newly migrated and refugee children, the program aims to help them in adapting into the changing labour market and economic landscape.

Byrne Creek’s Coding and Robotics Camp kicked off on July 4 (Submitted)

Gopal believes all BC youth deserve equal opportunities.

“British Columbia’s youth come from around the world,” he said. “This camp is an opportunity to bring young minds together, learn, share ideas, and eventually develop solutions that will grow our province.”

Gopal and Byrne Creek are hoping to elevate and educate the children to raise the success of their future and enjoy doing it by simply learning basic code, tinkering with robotics and using their imaginations.

“Our aim at Byrne Creek is to offer courses and curriculum that will help students in the new economy and future job market,” said David Starr, Byrne Creek Principal. “Compound that with the demographic of our community, and we have the potential to provide some very inspirational, transformative, and practical lessons and skills to our students.”

The goal of the camp is to eventually expand it to the Okanagan, Vancouver Island, and throughout the province.

BC’s tech sector is booming

Based on a report published by the Information and Communications Technology Council  in 2015, there are presently 100,000 jobs in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).  By 2019, 14,000 new jobs are expected in the tech sector in BC alone. The data is reporting that there will be insufficient homegrown talent to fulfill all of these jobs. The report also suggests that by 2019 Canada will have 182,000 new jobs in ICT.

Byrne Creek Secondary School is a cultural hub

The school’s neighbourhood is highly populated with immigrants, most of whom are refugees. Over 60% of Byrne Creek’s students have a first language other than English and 51% of their students are not Canadian citizens. Byrne Creek has naturally become a culturally rich hub where students and families come together to share, celebrate, and connect with resources.

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