Mozilla, Nesta and Nominet Trust have launched Digital Makers, a £225,000 fund and network for organisations to stimulate and promote digital skills in the UK. Mozilla Foundation executive director Mark Surman recently told .net that children and 'digital natives' more than ever have the skills to consume the web, but not actively create with it, which he likened to teaching a new generation how to read, but not how to write.
A Mozilla-commissioned YouGov survey strongly backed this line of thinking. Of the children surveyed, 75 per cent of those aged between eight and 15 said they were very or fairly interested in making their own online projects. Games to play with friends found most favour, followed by creating websites and editing videos. 67 per cent also indicated an interest in coding, but just three per cent said they knew how to. A majority of parents – 61 per cent – said they were "very or fairly interested in their children learning how to program or write computer code".
Digital Makers will support projects that will enable young people to acquire the skills they need to create online, and the fund is now open for "expressions of interest from organisations and individuals who share the ambition to improve practical digital skills among children and young people". Geoff Mulgan, chief executive at Nesta, added: "Digital technologies are ubiquitous – part of daily life. But we're still not doing enough to use them smartly. By equipping children and young people with the necessary skills early on, we can help them not just to use and consume digital technologies but also to create them – to be Digital Makers. The payoff for them will not only be more opportunities for learning and fun, but also more opportunities in a jobs market where these skills will be in ever greater demand."