Inspiring the next generation

Whether a dad, brother, son, or uncle, you can inspire the next generation and build an excellent business for your local community.

Inspiring the next generation

International Men’s Day every November celebrates the positive value men bring to their families and communities, highlighting positive male role models across the globe. Here, Justin Nihiser, CEO of kids coding specialists Code Ninjas, speaks to just three of the many inspiring men in the UK franchise network.

From teacher to empowering kids

Driven by his desire to introduce kids to technology, Lee Richards launched Code Ninjas Epsom in 2021. A father of two and a former secondary school teacher, Lee has always been someone keen to inspire the future generation within his community. After the pandemic disrupted education, Lee felt his teaching didn’t have the impact he had hoped. “With kids of my own, it got me thinking that I want to do more to empower kids to shape their future before I retire,” Lee said.

Combining his experience in technology and teaching, investing in a Code Ninjas franchise seemed like a natural step. “Our main focus is that every kid has a great time while learning things. We create a fun and caring environment that encourages our Ninjas to work together and help each other build their own and their peers’ confidence. It’s all about having fun – with the bonus of the ninjas learning valued skills that align with their passions and skills that, if they want, can set them up for the future.”

The businessman and dad making a real difference

When Neil Applewhaite came across Code Ninjas in 2021, he saw the opportunity to have a business that could make a difference in kids’ lives. “I found that my son, who loves coding, had to do a lot of self-learning due to the lack of challenging technology education at his school,” said Neil. “I wanted to give him, and kids like him in Enfield, coding skills that became second nature, even if they don’t go into a tech career in the future.”

For Neil, teaching was much more rewarding than his previous job as a web developer, sat behind a desk for 12 hours a day. “I wanted to use my passion for teaching and technology to fill the gap in the market in my hometown and do something for the kids in our community who were missing out on an extra-curricular activity that isn’t just music, dance or football. That is the change I could see Enfield needed.”

The best friends passionate about coding

Charlie Gunn, who launched both Code Ninjas High Wycombe and Code Ninjas Aylesbury in 2022 with his best friend Robin Theakston, wanted to support local children to feel confident in their digital abilities and passions. Both dads, it is something they both feel particularly passionate about. “There are so many after-school clubs and weekend camps for children with a passion for sport or the arts, but nothing that encourages a love of coding,” said Charlie. “It was obvious to me that kids’ understanding of coding will improve their lives by giving them all tools they need to succeed for a career in or out of coding.”

Another of Charlie’s motives for investing in Code Ninjas with Robin was his mission to bust misconceptions and inspire girls to code. Whilst growing up with two young boys, Charlie’s daughter struggled to find clubs for girls. “For far too long, there has been a misconception that girls can’t be into coding and that people who enjoy it are geeky,” Charlie said. “I wanted to ensure our lessons were fun and inclusive for boys and girls, encouraging kids to code no matter who they are.”

Every Code Ninjas location in the UK and internationally inspires kids to shape the future by harnessing our ever-advancing technological world. It’s important to me that we celebrate these inspiring individuals – dads, best friends and brothers – who are paving the way for the coders of the future, whilst also providing safe, pressure-free environments in which kids can ultimately have fun.

Justin Nihiser
Justin Nihiser