Tech training camp for kids raises £650,000 to fight digital skills gap

Fire Tech will use this latest injection of cash to further expand internationally. It already has a presence in the UK, Italy, France, Gibraltar and Australia

Fire Tech, a UK start-up that provides tech training courses for children and teens, has raised £650,000 in its latest funding round.

Led by the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, with further participation from Emerge Education and an array of investment angels, the start-up will use this latest injection of cash to further expand internationally, already having a presence in the UK, Italy, France, Gibraltar and Australia.

Targeted towards children and teenagers, between the ages of nine and 17, Fire Tech looks to “support the next generation of innovators” by hosting training camps on an array of tech subjects including coding, game development, 3D printing, robotics and digital music production.

Founded by Jill Hodges in 2013, FireTech has delivered over 7,000 of its 30 courses to date, recruiting tutors from universities such as Imperial College, and University of Cambridge and hosting classes in the likes of the London Science Museum and Wycombe Abbey.

Attempting to ensure that all children, regardless of background,  are ready for the tech of the future, Fire Tech hopes to put a stop to the widening digital skills gap in Britain.

According to the latest figures, more than three in four companies report shortages in digital skills, costing the UK economy £63bn a year in lost GDP.

Jill Hodges, founder and CEO of Fire Tech, said:

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“65% of children in primary school today will work in jobs that do not exist yet. Our mission is to prepare kids for the tech-driven economy in a fun and engaging way.

“We’re experiencing 40% y-o-y growth this year and have strong demand from individuals, educators and institutions from around the world asking us to bring our programme to their markets.

“Parents are eager for this product because they don’t feel that their children are getting enough of these critical skills in traditional education; parents don’t want their children left behind.”

Oliver Finch, who led the investment on behalf of the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, said:

“Jill and her team at Fire Tech design and deliver world-class programmes in technology education for young people.

“The courses and materials build familiarity across a range of technologies and software, and help students to develop real problem-solving skills, resilience and teamwork.

“We are delighted to support Fire Tech’s next phase of growth, as it furthers its UK and global expansion to capitalise upon this in-demand area of youth education and experience.”