Makers and Generation UK have announced a partnership to teach coding to underrepresented groups in the UK’s technology sector.
Coding bootcamp Makers and not-for-profit Generation UK will be working together to deliver a programme to impart software engineering skills to young people who are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Claudia Harris, CEO of Makers, said: “Generation UK and Makers share the same goal – to change lives. Both organisations help people from all walks of life to train in technology and build successful careers.
“This partnership with Generation UK enhances our service offering by connecting us to a pool of exceptional talent that is hard to reach and often overlooked, which we will support to become world-class software engineers. Together, we can bring the UK closer to narrowing the technology skills gap and achieving a more inclusive and diverse digital workforce.”
Recent research from BCS found that there is a lack of diversity in the UK’s tech sector, with women accounting for only 17% of IT specialists in the region. This is a number that has only shifted by 1% in the past five years.
It also found that 8% of IT specialists are of Indian ethnicity, 2% from a black, African, Caribbean or black British background, and 2% from Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds.
The coronavirus outbreak has made the hiring landscape even more precarious across several sectors, and young people are being disproportionately affected by unemployment during the pandemic.
Makers and Generation UK have developed a combined course where around 100 learners will complete the Generation UK introduction to software engineering programme, then will complete the Makers bootcamp.
Those taking part in the programme do not have to have prior experience in technology, and are instead chosen based on transferable skills, motivation and social impact. If they qualify, the participants will be given coding training, which usually costs £8,000, for free. After learning to code, they will be connected with Makers’ hiring partners to give them a better chance of gaining a job as a software engineer.
The UK’s technology sector has an ongoing tech skills gap, with more roles advertised than people to fill them, but the coronavirus outbreak has led to an increased the UK public’s interest in digital skills, especially among younger people.
Michael Houlihan, CEO of Generation UK, said: “At this time, the youth in this country are entering the world of work in a dismal economic climate – at Generation UK, we’re committed to doing what we can to help more people to gain vital skills and have access to the opportunities that will further their own development and benefit society and the economy at large.”
Makers has been focused on increasing the diversity of the technology sector for the past few years. In 2019, it launched its annual Women in Software Powerlist to showcase role models in the software engineering sector.
When launching the 2020 Women in Software Powerlist, Makers called for a “change of narrative” around diversity in the technology sector, also launching a Changemakers list to recognise teams focused on increasing the number of women in the software engineering sector.
The Makers and Generation UK training programme is set to launch in 2021 – those wanting to take part or act as a hiring partner for the programme should contact Makers.