London: PA Consulting Group has set a programming challenge to UK school pupils, students and IT professionals to help tackle the perceived IT talent gap.
In collaboration with Raspberry Pi, PA has challenged teams from schools, universities and businesses to utilise the Raspberry Pi, a credit card sized computer, to invent a computer programme that will be of practical benefit to the world.
The teams' invention can, for example, benefit the environment, enable the delivery of better care for others or make information more readily available or secure.
Winning schools will receive £1000 and undergraduates and IT professionals win a salaried internship at PA. The teams of up to six can use their programming skills and the Raspberry Pi and have a budget of £50. They can use a limited amount of additional hardware and any software modules must be available as source code.
The competition has been launched in response to an apparent fall in programming skills in the UK, and is aimed at increasing the numbers of skilled coders, developers and engineers.
PA's recent report, 'How to unlock sustainable growth in the UK' showed that leaders from the fastest growing technology and innovation sectors believe there are too few UK school children studying the core STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and too few school leavers studying STEM subjects at university, meaning too few of our graduates are attracted to industry.
Alan Middleton, PA Consulting Group's Chief Executive Officer, said, "If we want to unlock growth in technology and innovation we need to support those who have a talent and passion for technology and information science.
"We hope this competition will help raise the level of interest and enthusiasm for computer programming amongst these groups and support the next generation of skilled programmers."
Eben Upton, Executive Director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, commented, "The idea behind the Raspberry Pi came from concern about the year-on-year decline in the numbers, and skills levels, of A Level students applying to read Computer Science in each academic year.
"We hope that this competition will help encourage more young people and IT professionals to use the Raspberry Pi to experiment with computer programming."
Competition details are here.