May announces £20 million Institute of Coding

Speaking at the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced the creation of a new Institute of Coding which will receive £20 million to tackle the UK’s digital skills gap.

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 Institute of Coding is a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, and is centred around five core themes: university learners, to boost graduate employability; the digital workforce, to develop specialist skills; digitising the professions, helping learners to retrain; widening participation, to boost equality and diversity in technology-related careers; 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.”

Sam Gyimah, Universities Minister, 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.”

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