The BBC has announced a new digital initiative in a bid to tackle the UK's ongoing technical skills crisis by trying to teach future generations to code, build apps and understand how to use emerging technologies like 3D printing.
The plans, unveiled in BBC director general Tony Hall's vision for the future of the corporation, will see the BBC use its television, radio and online services to "stimulate a national conversation about digital creativity".
"Whether it's apps, websites, games, computer code, robotics or digital art, a range of BBC tools and resources will give people the skills to solve problems, tell stories and build new businesses in the digital world," the BBC said in its announcement of the scheme.
The BBC will be revealing the extent of the partnerships in the coming months, with the programme expected to come into full swing in 2015.
The new programme has unmissable parallels to the BBC's previous programming efforts, shipping more than a million Acorn-built BBC Micro computers in the 1980s, an era many see as a golden age for coders in the UK.
Ralph Rivera, the BBC's director of future media, said the BBC was looking to reignite this creativity seen in the 1980s. "Digital skills are absolutely fundamental in the modern world, and we're in a unique position to help people develop them and provide a safe online playground to try them out," he explained. "We want to transform the nation's ability and attitude towards coding, and bring together different organisations already working in this area."
Danny Cohen, director of BBC Television, added that the scheme was a good opportunity for the BBC to use its content for more than just viewer and listener entertainment.
"We'll harness the power of our biggest platforms and services, create partnerships and commission programmes to get people excited about computing again and help young people build the technologies and businesses of the future," he said.
Eben Upton, founder of the Raspberry Pi foundation – which makes a sub-£30 computer for young coders and enthusiasts, of which over one million have now been made in the UK – told V3 that the BBC's scheme was a return to form.
"They did a great job in the 1980s, and while some of the commercial realities have changed a little – there was no talk of a new BBC Micro for example – I think there's good scope for a vendor-neutral computer science and engineering education program, which hits many of the same goals as the original. It will be good to see how this sort of project can take advantages of the advances in communication technology over the last 30 years," he said.
Computing education in the UK is going through its own renaissance, with the Department for Education and industry leaders working together to launch a more relevant and practical computing curriculum for UK school pupils from September 2014.
Meanwhile, voices from across the IT industry, along with science, technology, engineering and mathematics, are calling for more government investment to ensure the UK remains part of the global race for technical skills.
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