One of Tech City’s most prominent figures has revealed that he is planning to open up a new technology school to create the next generation of internet pioneers.
Benjamin Southworth spent the last year forging relationships with the start-up community concentrated around Shoreditch in his role as deputy chief executive of the Tech City initiative, which he stood down from in June after reaching the end of a year long contract.
Southworth told the Evening Standard that he wants to address the skills shortage in the UK by creating a free technology school capable of producing “digitally savvy, business savvy wannabe entrepreneurs”.
The 32-year-old – who co-founded the alcohol-fuelled Silicon Drinkabout networking event – is taking on the project despite having no recognisable teaching qualifications.
The school – provisionally dubbed the Ada Lovelace Academy, after poet Lord Byron’s daughter who is credited with helping Charles Babbage develop the first computer – will aim to help prepare 30 students aged 16-19 for university or the job market.
Southworth said he plans to use the Harnkess model of education, which involves pupils and teachers exchanging information and ideas while sat around a table.
Details of how success might be measured at the academy are not yet clear.
Southworth said he wants to open the school in the next 18 months in Hackney, where there was 35 percent unemployment among 18-35 year olds last year.
Southworth encouraged people from all backgrounds to apply, saying: “There will be interviews, application processes, but I want it to be as open as possible — you can’t discriminate.”
Similar courses offered by organisations like General Assembly can run into thousands of pounds and are therefore out of the question for many teenagers.