YRS is jaw dropping success
14th August 2012
Back in June, we were approached to see how we could support the YRS Festival 2012, after it had outgrown its previous location in Bletchley and bring it to Birmingham. Through the hard work of many people, particularly Lara Ratnaraja and Big Cat, the Custard Factory and Birmingham, became home to the YRS Festival for the very first time.
This was a great coup for Birmingham; not only do we have the youngest population out of all the cities in Europe (so capturing the talent and ingenuity of young people resonates really well with us), but also the Open Data agenda is right at the heart of our Smart City programme. Ensuring data is open and accessible and easier to use will enable huge possibilities in the development of new apps, services and innovative products as part of this.
YRS 2012 proved just that. With access to open data and a week of intensive coding by youngsters (nigh on 500, some as young as 7!), at different centres across the country – we had a centre in Birmingham, courtesy of BCU (Millennium Point), something amazing took place. The culmination of all the hard work and late nights, ended with a massive sleepover session at the Custard Factory on Friday night (fuelled by some 200 pizza’s) and show and tell on Saturday.
Their creations, along with the presentations were awe inspiring – postcode wars app; a way to go were some of the winners -100 projects from 38 centres; but for me it does drive home the need for us to get our data out there, and let nature do the rest.
Our thanks to Emma and her team for a brilliant event. YRS is living proof of what is possible, highlights the significance of supporting young people to develop the skills needed for the jobs of the future and provides a great concept that we would like to explore and develop further in Birmingham.