The David and Jane Richards Family Foundation has appointed Joachim Dreimann as technical advisor to its programme of work advancing the education of computer science in state schools.
Mr Dreimann, 32, is product manager and user experience lead at WANdisco, the Sheffield and Silicon Valley-based public software company founded and led by David
He will advise the UK-registered charity on the development of its educational work against a backdrop of education funding cuts and skills shortages in the tech sector.
The foundation aims to transform the way computer science is taught in classrooms and focuses on data science to give young people the ability to understand and solve real-
Around 50 pupils have started the course at Sheffield’s Tapton School, the first institution to work with the foundation and David’s alma mater. Mr Dreimann is from Germany and grew up near Hanover. He moved to the UK in 2007 to improve his English, and later attended the University of Sheffield. Alongside completing Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees, Mr Dreimann started his career in the technology sector and joined WANdisco in 2012. His knowledge and understanding of computer science attracted attention inside and outside the company and he started lecturing on the subject of Open Data at Sheffield Hallam University.
Mr Dreimann has also mentored start-up companies in Yorkshire, providing practical advice on growth strategies at the crucial early stage. At WANdisco, he leads the user experience team and is responsible for designing the user interfaces of all of the company’s revenue-critical products worldwide, working with the product managers and company leadership. He said: “I am passionate about technology education from primary school to university and beyond and am excited about becoming technical advisor to the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation.
“To be able to make good decisions, you need data. Being able to understand that data is really important. You need to ask the right kind of questions. I’m not sure that’s taught enough in schools.
“I became interested in computers when I was 8 years old. My father’s office had a computer and when people weren’t at work, I would write choose-your-own-adventure video games.
“When I was 11, I started designing websites – my favourite was space-themed, featuring information from NASA’s website and a big picture of a space shuttle taking off. At high school I particularly enjoyed a project running a virtual business and the real-life learning
opportunities that this afforded.
“You can learn so many valuable lessons about life through computer science and we need the next generation of young people to be confident with data.” Mr Dreimann is advising the foundation on curriculum development. Its first course for 13 year olds is underway and studies how performance can be improved through the use of data analytics. David Richards said: “We are delighted that Joachim Dreimann has joined our foundation as technical advisor.
“He has a deep knowledge and understanding of computer science and open data and is passionate about education at all levels. “We are certain he will make a very positive impact on our work as we scale up our programme to advance the education of computer science in state schools.”
About the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation
David Richards, the founder and chief executive of WANdisco plc, set up djrff.org with wife Jane to educate, empower and improve the lives of children. The foundation is registered as a charitable incorporated organisation to operate throughout England.
Its trustees are Professor Chris Brady, director of the Centre for Sports Business at the University of Salford, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, and Herb Kim, founder and CEO of Thinking Digital.
Its aims are the advancement of computing and ecology education in state schools and the advancement of environmental protection and improvement. The foundation is supporting the installation and running costs of beehives and bee colonies at a number of state schools in Sheffield, starting with Wisewood Primary School.
David and Jane Richards have donated £1.1m to fund its work.