It’s Lifelong Learning Week across Greater Manchester this week and MadLab is participating. We’re hosting an online programming workshop for beginners with little or no previous experience – using functional programming (we’ll explain what that is) to make a Rock, Paper, Scissors game, then having a chat about digital careers.
For us, Lifelong Learning isn’t just about one week in the calendar. At MadLab, we support people from across Greater Manchester year-round.
We’ve trained over 100 young people, most of whom are from areas of high deprivation. Half of our cohorts are women, and we have strong representation from the LGBTQ+ community. Over 60% of our audience is minority ethnic. Given Stockport – where we hold a lot of our events – is 92% white, we think we’re making strides in terms of creating an offer for everyone in Greater Manchester.
And we’ve been hearing from people who we’ve supported over the last few years into jobs at the BBC, AutoTrader, Music Magpie, Co-op Digital, Stockport Council, the DfE,Code Computerlove, MIF and Comma Press (just to name a few!) Many come back to mentor or teach on subsequent courses - incredibly generous on their part, and wonderful to see in action.
Right now, we’re planning for a whole host of digital events in Stockport which will run from December 2023 to March 2024, thanks to Levelling Up funding (more details to follow soon… but you heard it here first).
Some in our community have started their own self-led groups. For example, EquiBeeMCR a group looking to transform the career journeys of young people through community support. We’re helping them secure their first grant so that they can expand and grow the work they want to do.
It’s often easy to resort to stats and info when giving a summary like this, but what’s really important - when it comes to lifelong learning - are the voices of our community. So in the Spirit of LLW, here’s what our learners have told us about their learning recently:
“I feel like I’ve got my spark again”
“MadLab sets the example of how you should be kind and caring in a genuine way”
“Coding has opened the door for me. It’s not about the technical thing….it's made me believe in myself”
‘The first day I came in it was very hard and I wanted to leave. MadLab has helped me through my problems… There's always been someone who's been there for me and be there saying, ‘Hey, you can do it’”
And to finish, here’s Luisa - who’s just secured an apprenticeship with AutoTrader:
“Personally, the barriers I faced trying to break into tech was the lack of opportunities for complete beginners and the lack of guidance. There are loads of free material to study programming but it's hard to know where to begin or the next steps when you are doing it by yourself and don't have anyone to ask questions or advice.
I don't have words to describe the impact MadLab had on my path to be a developer. It was a complete game-changer, not only because of the knowledge I gained but specially because of the mentorship I got. MadLab gave me the tools and skills I needed to start my journey and even helped on my next steps. I don't feel like I am alone on this journey anymore and feel a lot more confident!”