Posted on 26 January 2018
A consortium of more than 60 universities, businesses and industry experts will receive £20 million to tackle the UK’s digital skills gap through a new Institute of Coding.
The consortium is formed of businesses including IBM, Cisco, BT and Microsoft, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), 25 universities, and professional bodies such as the British Computer Society and CREST.
The 25 universities involved, led by the University of Bath, and also including the University of York, the Open University, Aston University, Coventry University, and Queen Mary University, aim to improve training for digital careers.
Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said: “A world-class pipeline of digital skills is 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.”
Speaking at the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos, Prime Minister Theresa May outlined how the Institute of Coding will create new degree level courses to equip people of all ages with the digital skills they need.
The government’s £20 million investment will be matched by a further £20 million from industry, including in-kind contributions such as training and equipment.
Professor Neil Audsley, Head of the University of York’s Department of Computer Science, said: “Involvement in the Institute of Coding offers a unique opportunity to build upon the work we have been doing in promoting digital skills within higher education via new degree courses, and within the workplace through knowledge exchange and CPD.
“We will work with students and Institute of Coding partners to improve and add to these offerings, ensuring an enhanced student experience throughout their time at university.”
The Institute of Coding is centred around five core themes: University Learners; the Digital Workforce; Digitalising the Professions; Widening Participation; and Knowledge Sharing and Sustainability.
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.”