Rhondda tech-savvy pupils impress the first minister

It was a double win last week for tech-savvy pupils from a Rhondda-based primary school at the Urdd Eisteddfod.

The pupils, from YYG Llyncelyn in Rhondda, not only managed to take third place for their digital design skills but also obtained a special seal of approval from First Minister Carwyn Jones at the Welsh language festival held in Caerphilly.

Members of the Beta Geeks club from YGG Llwyncelyn had the opportunity to show off their tech work and design skills to the first minister as part of his visit to the Urdd.

They demonstrated a variety of technical projects they’ve developed over the last 6 months. These included online games themed for Red Nose Day, a solar-powered car and even a piano made from bananas.

The Beta Geeks club nurtures young people’s STEM abilities through a variety of hands-on interactive activities, exercises and games.

It meets once a week after school, and some of its members are as young as 8 years old and have learnt to write computer code, design and showcase their own online games and build robots. By doing this, they’ve been able to gain confidence in manipulating technology to solve problems.

The club is delivered by Rhondda-based Big Click, an app development social enterprise bringing industry experts into schools to inspire the next generation of technology creators.

Commenting on the pupils’ enthusiasm and passion for tech, First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “It was great to meet members of the Beta Geeks Club at this year’s Urdd Eisteddfod.

“Through our Welsh Language Technology and Digital Media grant we are supporting the Big Click to create brand new software to encourage young children to learn to read and speak Welsh.

“It’s clear from meeting members from YGG Llwyncelyn that they are genuinely enthusiastic about a huge range of different technologies and I hope that passion stays with them long into the future.”

Ben Treharne-Foose, Big Click’s digital technologies manager, added: “The Beta Geeks club was established to explore the many ways in which technology impacts on our lives but also to build confidence in shaping technology to serve our needs.

“The children are developing problem-solving skills which are at the heart of tech development, but also a key skill in which career path they pursue.”