Lee Lindsay

The rapid delivery of software development and coding skills are now critical for businesses to compete. Lee Lindsay, Education Consultant with EdTech specialists, Code Institute explains how their collaboration with South East LEP, Newcastle College and Gateway Qualification found a solution to skills delivery.

Covid-19 has devastated lives and livelihoods, and how quickly we rebound from it depends on thoughtful and concerted action from government, business, and education. Job losses have cut deeply, especially in retail and hospitality, with thousands of workers in need of new career opportunities. Many people are understandably anxious about the future; Covid-19 has compromised their career path and challenged the relevance of their skills.

Businesses are faced with the dual challenges of accelerating digitisation and reskilling their workforce to remain competitive. Thousands have lost jobs in retail and hospitality. However, the tech sector continues to grow rapidly and there are 90k unfilled jobs in this sector every week. So, how do you tackle these challenges simultaneously?

There is however a common solution to these challenges — relevant skills, delivered quickly. This realisation connected Newcastle College, South East LEP, Gateway Qualifications and Code Institute.

These organisations pitted their combined experience and expertise into finding a workable solution to the skills delivery issue. One that would deliver the skilled graduates into jobs quickly.

The LEPs understand the skills requirements of industry at a regional and national level, and can influence skills delivery. South East LEP’s Skills Lead, Louise Aitken points to the key role Further Education colleges have in skills delivery: “Colleges are deeply embedded in the local community, so they are key in bridging the digital divide and creating the skilled workforce local employers are looking for.”

Newcastle College, like many Further Education colleges, was in a bind. They recognised the demand for a recognised qualification to skill or re-skill people for employment in tech roles — and the need to deliver these skills within a relatively short space of time. However, they lacked the resources not only to create such a course but to deliver the teaching.

Simultaneously, Code Institute and Gateway Qualifications were developing just such a qualification. The Level 5 Diploma in Web Application Development. However, the critical point of difference is that Code Institute provides both the content for colleges and support structure for learners. A complete structure of online-tutors, mentors, and career services support learners. In addition, colleges receive train-the-trainer assistance for their tutoring team. Therefore, Further Education colleges can partner on the delivery and have graduates entering the workforce within a year.

For Andrew Nicholson, Head of Digital Technologies at Newcastle College explains the agility this collaboration: “The ability to get it off the ground now far outweighs the potential advantages of creating a qualification like this under our own steam. The resources needed and the time frame involved in developing the platform would be very considerable.”

From Code Institute’s perspective, graduate employability through job-ready skills are our north-star. The key to this is the delivery which replicates the work environment of software developers and the project based approach. Learning is hands-on in an SaaS environment where learners work through developing and building each phase of an app. This gives their employers or prospective employers proof of their competencies. The litmus test is that 90% of graduates are employed within 6-months of graduating.

Since launching in December, Newcastle’s first cohort of learners have started and applications for a second cohort are open. These learners will have graduated and be in employment early 2022. Other colleges have followed suit with Harlow, Halesowen, University Centre Newbury and Colege Y Cymoedd now onstream. Several more are due to launch the programme this year.

As the dust settles after Covid-19, and the full scale of its disruption becomes clear, that is likely to be a lot of people. You can download the white paper here to read it in full.

Code Institute works with businesses, governments and training organisations to deliver software development and coding skills which accelerate digital transformation for businesses and to provide future-proof workforce skills.

To find out more about Code Institute, visit their website here or email lee@codeinstitute.net to arrange a consultation.

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