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BBC donates a million computers to close the digital skills gap

It seems everyone's getting in on the 'we need more IT experts' trend.

After the Obama administration kickstarted the TechHire initiative to find more IT experts, and Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude's announcement of the government's National Cyber Security Programme financial boost, BBC has made a move (opens in new tab) of its own.

The company announced it will give away one million mini-computers to school children in a bid to improve their coding and IT skills.

The BBC will give away Micro Bits, a computer similar to Raspberry Pi – to every child in year 7 across the UK.

The computers will be followed up with a series of dedicated BBC programmes and online activities.

It will include a new drama based on Grand Theft Auto and a documentary on Bletchley Park, BBC says.

Seenit reports that the broadcaster is also partnering with around 50 organisations, including tech giants BT and Google, to help to fill the UK’s digital skills gap.

Director-General Tony Hall described the initiative as a successor to the 1980’s BBC initiative which saw computing go mainstream.

Lord Hall said: “This is exactly what the BBC is all about – bringing the industry together on an unprecedented scale and making a difference to millions.

“Just as we did with the BBC Micro in the 1980s, we want to inspire the digital visionaries of the future.

“Only the BBC can bring partners together to attempt something this ambitious, this important to Britain’s future on the world stage.

“BBC Make it Digital could help digital creativity become as familiar and fundamental as writing, and I’m truly excited by what Britain, and future great Britons, can achieve.”

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.