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Queen’s Engineering Outreach team teaching digital skills

The program has received new CanCode funding to support visits to local schools and First Nations communities.

Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen and local grade school students try their hand at some robotics experiments in the Queen's Tinker Trailer. (University Communications)
Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen and local grade school students try their hand at some robotics experiments in the Queen's Tech n' Tinker Trailer, a mobile education unit operated by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. (University Communications)

Local youth and schools will continue to benefit from technology workshops offered through Queen’s thanks to a recent federal government funding announcement.

Actua, a Canadian charity focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education among youth, was the organization that received the largest amount of funding under CanCode, an initiative of the Canadian Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development. As a member of the Actua network, Queen’s Engineering Outreach will receive $230,000 over the next 18 months.

On hand to celebrate the funding announcement were representatives from Actua, and Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen.

“CanCode is our Government’s down payment on Canada’s future. This program will help ensure more young Canadians, of all backgrounds, have the right skills for the jobs of the future. Coding and digital literacy will be the bedrock of future jobs and further study in high-demand STEM fields,” says Mr. Gerretsen.

Representatives from Rideau Heights Public School and Queen's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science celebrate funding which will allow Queen's to continue to visit schools like Rideau Heights and offer science, technology, engineering, and math programming. (University Communications)
Representatives from Rideau Heights Public School, Actua, and Queen's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science celebrate the CanCode funding announcement. This funding will allow Queen's to continue to visit schools like Rideau Heights and offer science, technology, engineering, and math programming. (University Communications)

The funds will be used to provide free workshops to grade school students to help them build their digital skills, and expose them to technologies such as coding and robotics. The workshops are offered multiple times per week across the greater Kingston area, and the funding will support programming through to the summer of 2019.

“On behalf of Queen’s, we thank Actua and the federal government for this funding, which will benefit thousands of students in our area,” says Scott Compeau, Outreach Lead with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

“This funding will allow us to continue to partner not only with local schools but also with First Nations communities to engage students in science, technology, engineering, and math-related learning activities,” says Melanie Howard, Director of Aboriginal Access to Engineering.

The Queen’s Engineering Outreach team recently won the “Experience Award: Indigenous Youth in STEM” from Actua. For more information on the Aboriginal Access to Engineering program at Queen’s, visit www.aboriginalaccess.ca