We’ve been asked a few times lately “Who’s the next Theo?”

For those of you who don’t know, Theo has been the example we point to every time we want to show what we do and why it’s important to the young people we work with; our local businesses; and the economy of the town in the future.  We’ve coached and mentored Theo through his later teens as he developed as a coder/ software developer and now he’s gone off to university to hone his skills some more.

We talk about Theo a lot, so we figured it was time to spare his blushes and introduce some of the other people we’re working with. This is the first in a series of blog posts where we profile a few of our students, staff and volunteers. 

They’re all learning, and they’re all great.

They do, and they will continue to, grow and support the community of creative, digital and IT people in Eastbourne.

We’re starting with James and Sean (or Sean and James).

For anyone who knows The West Wing, Sean and James (or James and Sean) are our very own Ed and Larry (or Larry and Ed).

They’re in year 11 at school, working hard preparing for their GCSEs in a few weeks.  They started as TechResort Teen students; they volunteered some extra help from time to time; and now they work for us part time, after school as well doing some volunteering.

The best thing about James and Sean (Sean and James) is that they each have different things they’re really good at, but they complement each other so the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.  That’s just how a team should work.

I asked them to tell us why they enjoy working with TechResort; what skills they bring and how being involved with TechResort has benefited them.

This is from Sean (he’s the one on the right in the picture, by the way)

“I really like working with all sorts of technology and being able test, tinker, set up and play about with technology here is something that I love doing.  I wouldn’t necessarily be able to do this outside of TechResort and I think it is a unique opportunity for a student like me.

In TechResort I work as part of the team to build or develop something – such as a Raspberry Pi session for 10 to 12 year-olds – and I’ve also been able to make videos that form part of our social media output because I can interpret something creatively – this is something most of the rest of the team don’t have time to do.

I’ve learned absolutely loads of things here – picking up bits of knowledge from other Elves, especially about hardware and I think also my communication skills have improved.  I’m now able to talk to and pass on my own knowledge to younger session attendees.”

…and James

“I enjoy working at TechResort because it gives me access to equipment like 3D printers, and it is generally fun to help run the sessions.

The skills I bring to TechResort is a mix of things ranging from some hardware to mainly software and just general tech stuff.  I’m also a dab-hand with a hacksaw and a soldering iron.

Working at sessions has given me the experience of working with different people and having to solve issues with them that I would have otherwise never come across.”

We’re really happy to have these guys working with us.  They make us think in different ways; they help us make sessions which appeal to lots of different kids and they’re frequently the ones who sit with kids in sessions and coach them through the activities.  They populate our social media streams with engaging images, films and tweets; they set up the room for sessions and take it down again.

They’re learning skills that will help them in their future studies and careers and all the time (more or less) they enjoy it.

We’ll be looking to recruit more volunteer students over the forthcoming months.  Exciting times.