An arts centre in East London is reaching beyond traditional UK ICT education by launching a scheme to train young people to create and build web applications for smartphones and online platforms such as Facebook.

From this month Rich Mix’s ‘Devcamp’ is offering 60 teens three courses aimed at 13-18 year olds that already have some basic coding experience; ‘Learn to Build your own smartPhone app’, ‘Learn to build your own Facebook app’, and ‘Learn to build your own web app.’

“London's role as digital capital of Europe is dependent upon our future workforce having the skills innovative tech businesses need,” said The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, recruited to help push the ideas behind the project.

“Initiatives such as Devcamp provide a great model for how we can ensure the young people of London are inspired and prepared to benefit from the job opportunities of the future,” he said.

Equally, Devcamp also begs some questions about the lack of such courses for the age group, especially in terms of coding for the types of programming skills being demanded by today’s developers.

Earlier this year, British games guru David Braben became the the latest entrepreneur to slam the quality of ICT training in the country’s schools, launching a tiny, cheap development computer, the Raspberry Pi, which he has promoted as a way of spurring a more inspiring direction.

“In my day we had a subject called typing, and that to me is what ICT has replaced. I’m talking about a completely different set of skills that ICT has ousted from schools,” Braben told the BBC at the time, scathingly.

Devcamp’s ambitions are modest and the numbers small but it could offer a better direction at least for young people who have managed to pick up some of the basic skills already.

"There has never been a more crucial time for business to back young tech talent. We need to inspire and enable a new generation of digital innovators in order to compete in the global economy,” said founder and CEO, Joe Cohen. 

The courses will be offered free, supported by Silicon Valley Bank, Apps For Good, Futureversity, Baskin Foundation, London and Partners, and unnamed private individuals.