Institute of Coding launches £2.3m fund to tackle the digital skills gap

The fund given by the Office for Students will be designated to between five and ten successful bidding groups, all of which must submit clear plans to advance access to digital skills education, enhance graduate employability and employment outcomes.

Groups applying must comprise of at least one higher education provider with existing course provision in computer science or information technology and at least one industry partner. Bids can include industry partners, other higher education providers, other employers, business partners and professional or outreach organisations.

>See also: Interview with Dr Rachid Hourizi, Director of the Institute of Coding

The deadline for proposals is noon on Monday 26th November 2018. The funding allocated is to be spent between 31st January 2019 and 31st January 2020.

The first town hall meeting organised in partnership with CPHC, to discuss the detail of the fund and application process will take place on 5th of September 2018 at UCL University, with a further meeting on 16th October 2018 at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The Institute of Coding is a £20million government investment funded through the Office for Students and is match funded from investment through partners.

Sheila Flavell, Chair, IOC Industry Advisory Board said: “This new fund provides an exciting opportunity for the creation of high-quality STEM courses for the next generation of graduates. At a time when the UK’s digital industry is playing such a vital role in economic growth and job creation, it’s absolutely critical that we extend access to technical education to as many young people as possible, from all walks of life.”

By the year 2022,  518,000 additional workers will be needed to fill roles in digital industries, according to the Shadbolt review, a government-commisioned report. For the sake of context, this is three times the number of computer science graduates produced in the UK in the past ten years.

>See also: UK Government spends £6m on data scientists

Key areas of focus for the fund are innovative approaches to digital skills education in areas of national need so that graduates can learn to apply subject-specific skills to current industry challenges. Other key areas include supporting the development of broader employability skills, transition into work and engaging employers actively in curriculum design to ensure its alignment with the industry as well as encouraging more women and ethnic minority students into the digital sector.

Dr Rachid Hourizi, director, Institute of Coding comments: “Gaining access to high-quality education and training is absolutely critical to tackling the UK’s digital skills shortfall. The IoC’s new fund will enable academic institutions and industry organisations to work together, developing cutting-edge education to promote digital excellence and improve the technical skills for a new generation of workers. This initiative is the latest in a wide array of activity from the IoC to launch new services and spread digital skills across the country.”

>See also: Do today’s A-level results matter to the needs of a CTO

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future