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60 organisations line up to back Institute of Coding

David Bicknell Published 26 January 2018

25 universities including University of Bath, UCL, Newcastle University, Coventry University, the University of the Arts, and the Open University, will be supported by businesses such as BT, Accenture, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft and several SMEs


The government has announced details of the universities and business partners supporting the new Institute of Coding which has been created to give people greater access to the digital skills they need. 

The Institute brings together more than 60 universities, businesses and industry specialists together with financial support of £20m.

The Institute was mentioned in Theresa May’s speech yesterday at the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos. May described the Institute as a key part of the government’s efforts to drive up digital skills through the Industrial Strategy.

Organisations named as part of the consortium include IBM, Cisco, BT, Accenture and Microsoft, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and 25 universities, led by the University of Bath and ranging from sector leaders in business and computer science (UCL and Newcastle University) to experts in arts and design (University of the Arts) to specialists in widening participation and outreach (Open University and Birkbeck, and the University of London).

The consortium also includes professional bodies such as the British Computer Society and CREST.

Universities minister Sam Gyimah said, “A world-class pipeline of digital skills are essential to the UK’s ability to shape our future. By working together, universities, employers and industry leaders can help graduates build the right skills, in fields from cybersecurity to artificial intelligence to industrial design.

“The Institute of Coding will play a central role in this. Employers will have a tangible input to the curriculum, working hand-in-hand with universities to develop specialist skills in areas where they are needed most. As we have outlined in the Industrial Strategy, this is part of our ambition to embrace technological change and give us a more competitive edge in the future.”

In her Davos speech, the Prime Minister also referred to a £10m investment in free and subsidised training courses to help adults retrain and learn new skills.

Launched as part of the Industrial Strategy, the pilot programmes, located in Leeds, Devon and Somerset, Lincolnshire, Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands, will test how to support people with the cost of retraining. The government has also invested £30m to test the use of artificial intelligence and edtech in online digital skills courses.

The award follows a nationwide competition, run by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), to improve the way universities train people for digital careers. The government’s £20m investment will be matched by a further £20m from industry, including in-kind contributions such as training and equipment.

The Institute of Coding is centred around five core themes:

  • University learners (led by the Open University) – To boost graduate employability through a new industry standard targeted at degree level qualifications.
  • The digital workforce (led by Aston University) – To develop specialist skills training in areas of strategic importance.
  • Digitalising the professions (led by Coventry University) – To transform professions undergoing digital transformation (e.g. helping learners retrain via new digital training programmes provided through online and face-to-face learning)
  • Widening participation (led by Queen Mary University of London) – To boost equality and diversity in technology-related education and careers.
  • Knowledge sharing and sustainability (led by the University of Bath) – To share outcomes and good practice, ensuring long-term sustainability of the IoC.

Dr Rachid Hourizi, director of the Institute of Coding, said, “The strength of the Institute of Coding lies in the fact that it brings together educators, employers and outreach groups to co-develop digital skills education at undergraduate and masters level for learners in universities, at work and in previously under-supported groups across the country.

“In addition, we’ll work with our partners to target underrepresented talent through outreach activities, tailored and inclusive curricula, flexible delivery and removal of barriers to working in the industry.”

BT, among others, will provide staff and training for the Institute of Coding’s undergraduate and masters programmes.

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