Sheffield tech tycoon donates £1.1m for computer skills in schools

A Sheffield-born tech tycoon is spending more than £1m of his own money on a foundation to boost computer science in city schools.

David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco, is donating $1.5m to help kids get ready for ‘real world’ jobs in a booming, well-paid sector desperate for people.

He has set up the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation after growing frustrated with the government’s focus on coding in computer classes, a job he believes will increasingly be done by artificial intelligence.

 His old school, Tapton in Crosspool, will be the first to benefit but he hopes other secondaries will get in touch.
 Mr Richards, aged 47, said: “You can’t have all this money and hold on to it or buy a football team. There’s only so many houses you can live in. I think it’s better to do something good for the world.

“I’ve been thinking about this for 10 years. I knew I couldn’t keep complaining to my wife Jane all the time, I had to do something. Now I’m in the fortunate position where I can.”

In Silicon Valley, where he lives, it is common for tech founders to spend their wealth this way, he added.

The foundation will run hands-on courses to teach pupils how to use applications to manipulate and analyse huge amounts of data.

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