Gernot Krautberger - stock.adobe
As the first cohorts of the Institute of Coding’s (IOC) digital skills bootcamps wrap up, more than a thousand skilled workers are set to join the tech talent pool.
The IOC has claimed that as 40 cohorts complete their bootcamps over the next four months, 1,500 newly skilled individuals will be added to the UK’s tech sector.
Sheila Flavell, COO of FDM Group and chair of the IoC’s Industry Advisory Board, said: “The technical and workplace skills that these graduates have learnt as part of their skills bootcamp will make them desirable candidates for many of the digital and tech roles that employers are looking to fill.
“We are excited to see the contributions they will make and, what’s more, we would love to hear from employers about their requirements so we can continue creating new, accessible pathways to employment and a more robust talent pipeline for industry.”
Employers in the UK often complain of a technology skills gap, with a large number of IT leaders saying skills gaps in their departments have increased over the past five years.
The IoC’s government-backed bootcamps are free for learners, and run in partnership with universities, local authorities and employers across the UK to increase skills that line up with actual needs in the local tech sector. Each bootcamp was developed using the government’s Plan for Jobs, which was put in place to help employers upskill and employ people.
Areas such as data analytics, cloud computing, software development, DevOps data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), web development, cyber security are covered as part of the bootcamps, alongside basic digital skills, which many in the UK are still lacking.
The first cohort is set to graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University – delivered in partnership with The HeroWorx, which specifically aims to increase the amount of talent from under-represented backgrounds in the tech sector – with each bootcamp taking 16 weeks to complete.
Rob Aspin, lead of the Manchester Metropolitan Skills Bootcamp, said: “Our Skills Bootcamp in Digital focuses on the key skills we know are needed in the modern digital workplace, from technical aspects such as programming, databases and cyber security, through to the key employability skills we know employers are looking for, including digital marketing, business and entrepreneurship, and employability. As a local consortium delivering these bootcamps, spanning both academia and commercial training providers, we have put all our experience into this.”
Graduates of the Manchester Metropolitan IoC skills bootcamp
Three of the graduates from the Manchester Metropolitan bootcamp cohort who have just graduates share some of their thoughts on participating in the bootcamp, including what it involved, why they applied and where they plan to go from here.
Yasmin Morshed, who also has a masters in Pharmacy, said she wanted to learn about coding, video game design, Unity, and more about entrepreneurship, with plans to go into software development.
She said: “The skills bootcamp was invaluable in teaching me computing fundamentals such as coding and cyber security, as well as business. For example, as part of the bootcamp, we created an app prototype that we pitched to potential investors. I feel that I now have robust knowledge and confidence to offer to employers and am excited to start a career in software development.”
Oluseun Adeogun, took part in the bootcamp after planning her return to work after a career break. She wanted to make sure her skills were up to date so she stood out when applying for jobs.
She said: “What was great about the course was that it didn’t solely focus on the specific technological skill, but included other elements of its application in the workplace, for example entrepreneurial soft skills, interpersonal skills and working in a team, which is ultimately what a role will involve.”
After her career as a flight attendant was grounded during the pandemic, Santrice Rivers took part in the bootcamp to launch the cyber career she had always hoped for.
She said: “I’d love to be a cyber forensic analyst. The Institute of Coding-led skills bootcamp from Manchester Metropolitan University has enabled me to retrain to do just that. As well as gaining a thorough understanding of coding and cyber security, I also learnt about business and the varied real-world uses for coding.
“I’m excited to embark on my new career in a role that will enable me to put all of this into practice and continue to learn and grown as the industry does.”
As well as a large number of people in the UK lacking the basic digital skills needed for the modern workplace, many young people feel they don’t have the more advanced digital skills needed for work – the IoC said 60% of the people taking part in its skills bootcamps already have some kind of undergraduate or graduate degree and are aiming to retrain or gain new skills before entering the job market.
As well as a lack of skilled talent, the UK’s technology sector has been working towards developing a more diverse workforce, with women only making up around 17% of IT specialist in the region.
The IoC claimed its bootcamps are seeing 44% female graduates, and 37% of those taking part are from groups that are under-represented in the UK’s tech sector.
This is among the many initiatives in place across the UK to develop a more digitally skilled workforce, with chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing several measures during the 2021 Autumn Budget aimed at giving younger people the skills they need for the future workplace, and at ensuring adults have access to continued skills development.