The Institute of Coding (IoC) in Wales, a major partnership led by Swansea University, which forms part of the National Institute of Coding based in England to act on the digital skills gap and create the next generation of digital specialists, has been launched at the Senedd in Cardiff.
The combined Welsh and English Institute of Coding provides a £21.2 million fund to develop specialist skills training in areas of strategic importance and boost equality and diversity in digital education and careers. The project was established following announcements made earlier this year by both UK and Welsh governments. The institutes are backed by a consortium of over 60 partners, including two Welsh universities (Swansea and Cardiff) and 22 English universities along with businesses and industry experts.
The inclusion of the Welsh universities in the consortium is due to their work in widening the participation of young people undertaking technology-related education through:
- the strength and impact of the national Technocamps programme;
- the achievements of the National Software Academy;
- the success of the apprenticeship-style degree programmes being operated at Swansea and Cardiff Universities.
At the launch event, stakeholders from across industry, local and central government, and educational and professional bodies came together to celebrate the establishment of the IoC in Wales and share its vision for future activities.
Speaking at the launch, Swansea University’s Professor Faron Moller who is head of the IoC in Wales said: “With the pan-Wales Technocamps programme, and through offering apprenticeship degree programmes and essential CPD opportunities, Swansea and Cardiff Universities are well placed to address the national skills shortage in the digital economy workforce. We are excited at the prospects and new opportunities that will arise from being a partner in the Institute of Coding.”
The National IoC programme is being led by Dr Rachid Hourizi of the University of Bath who said: “Today’s launch brings together the worlds of industry, government and academia in a combined effort to respond to the digital skills crisis. This collaboration will ensure that the next generation of students and workers gain access to the latest, high-quality training courses to equip them with the technical abilities they need to thrive in the modern economy.
We know that businesses in Wales are hungry to recruit digitally-adept employees and spread skills across the workforce. We also know that company leaders are keen to play a part in the development of qualifications to support this effort. The IoC will enable this aspiration to become a reality, spreading opportunity and personal empowerment for everyone, whatever their background.”
Julie James AM, Leader of the House with responsibility for digital said: “Earlier this year the Welsh Government announced £1.2m to support Cardiff and Swansea Universities’ involvement in the UK-wide Institute of Coding, helping create the next generation of digital specialists. Having world-class digital skills is absolutely essential and I’m pleased to be at the launch today of the Institute in Wales which will be key in strengthening these skills in Wales.”
Much of the funding from the Welsh government will support the wider Technocamps Programme which is a pan-Wales schools and community outreach programme led by the Swansea University’s Computer Science Department with hubs in every university across Wales.
Established in 2003, Technocamps provide a wide spectrum of activities aimed at identifying and addressing shortcomings in computing education and skills and covering all aspects of:
- awareness-raising through engagement
- curriculum reform
- policy and practice
- teacher training and professional development.