Development & Alumni Relations Office 


28 June 2016

The Caterpillar Foundation has awarded a grant of over £12k to inspire the next generation of computer coders in Northern Ireland through Queen’s Code Camp.

Code Camp gives young people the opportunity to participate in a free, six-week, after school club programme delivered by staff and students from the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s. It will engage with 120 school pupils aged 11–14, who may not otherwise have considered further education as an option or indeed have any knowledge of, or skills in, STEM subjects and careers. 

Participating pupils will learn how to code, develop apps, programmes, games and explore technology, helping them to make informed decisions on future study and career paths especially in Computer Science and Software Engineering. 

The programme will also promote the study and culture of software development within schools that traditionally do not have a Computer Science or Software Engineering provision.

The hugely popular initiative is primarily for those studying science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) subjects. Commenting on the initiative Dr Phil Hanna, Director of Education at the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen's, said: "We are really delighted that the Caterpillar Foundation is helping us to get young people enthused and excited about coding. 

“Through this programme we aim to let young learners discover that everyone can learn to code. In doing this, we hope to encourage those who haven’t had any exposure to coding to take their first step towards a rewarding career in this sector,” he added.

Of particular interest to young girls Code Camp help reduce the recognised gender divide in students that choose computing degree pathways at university and subsequent employment in the software industry.

Speaking on behalf of the Caterpillar Foundation Mark Dorsett, Caterpillar UK Country Director said: “The Caterpillar Foundation is proud to support the impactful work Queen’s University is undertaking to help engage and educate young people on the importance of investing in their education and specifically girls to acquire highly sought after skills in the field of STEM. 

“Educationis an important focus for the Foundation as we believe it is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty and building strong communities in and around those in which Caterpillar employees work and live,” he added.

Founded in 1952, Caterpillar's philanthropic organisation, the Caterpillar Foundation has contributed more than $650 million to help make sustainable progress possible around the world by providing programme support in the areas of environmental sustainability, access to education and basic human needs. 

General inquiries to Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Queen’s Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen’s University Belfast (tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321); for more on Caterpillar’s involvement with Queen’s Code Camp contact Gail McMullan (tel: +44 (0)28 9097 3201).  

Caption (L-R): Dr Phil Hanna, Director of Education in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; (back row) Rob Wolfenbarger, Communications Team, Caterpillar (NI) Limited; (front) Madison McCann and Alicia Robinson, Yr. 9 at St Louise's Comprehensive College; Lorraine McAlinden, Facility Talent Development Consultant, Caterpillar (NI) Limited; Lewis Brown, Yr. 10 Belfast Boys’ Model School and Aidan McGowan, Lecturer (Education), School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. 



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