A Year of Code has been launched by the Government as it announces public funds to train teachers how to give lessons in computer coding.
The campaign, launched by education secretary Michael Gove and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne at the Skills 2014 conference today, will feature series of events over the next 12 months that promote coding, including a week-long event in March to encourage every to teach pupils at least one hour of basic programming.
The Department for Education (DfE) also said a £500,000 fund will be set up, with the Government matching money invested by industry and technology businesses, for IT firms and universities to establish schemes to train teachers to teach the new computing curriculum due to be introduced this autumn.
Gove said: "The new computing curriculum will give our children the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. That is why we replaced the obsolete and boring curriculum with one that is forward-thinking, modern, and drawn up by teachers, industry experts and leading technology firms.
"I want IT firms, university computing departments and software developers to use this fund to share their knowledge with the next generation."
The new computing curriculum was drawn up with support from the Royal Society of Engineering as well as leading firms such as Google and Microsoft.
Osborne said: "We are announcing half a million in funding to allow teachers of the new computing curriculum to be trained by industry experts. In the 21st century, the ability to code and program a computer is no longer a nice-to-have, it's an essential."
A survey conducted to mark the start of the Year of Code campaign found that nearly 60 per cent of the almost 4,000 adults questioned said they thought that computer coding was a vital skill for today's job market.
Lottie Dexter, director of Year of Code, added: "In recent years our economy has changed but our workforce has not. If we are going to crack high levels of youth unemployment, we must ensure that all young people leave school with the right skills for the jobs market.
"However, while the introduction of computing coding in classrooms will be crucial, we also need to ensure the nation is excited about the power and potential of computer science. Over the next twelve months Year of Code will demystify coding and create an understanding of why it is so integral to our daily lives."