The Institute of Coding (IoC), a joint government and industry initiative launched in June, has established a £2.3 million fund to help tackle the UK’s digital skills gap.
The money will be allocated to up to 10 groups or projects who bid competitively for the funding and can demonstrate their ability to meet its criteria. Applicants must have both an industry and an academic partner.
Dr Rachid Hourizi Director of the Institute of Coding commented in an emailed statement that: “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.”
To successfully secure a portion of the fund a bidding group must contain at least one industry partner; previously the IoC has teamed up with Microsoft to run a pilot programme in Birmingham City University.
A group must also contain an academic provider with an already established record of running computer science and information technology courses.
Key areas of focus that need to be tackled according to the Institute are; engaging employers in curriculum design, encourage more women into the sector.
It must also take into account increasing work experience opportunities and the establishment of supports for a higher levels of university to work transitions.
Digital Skills Shortage: “An Order of Magnitude Problem”
The Institute of Coding was announced January 2018 by Prime Minister Theresa May when she pledged £20 million towards the creation of the Institute. It was officially launched on the 21st of June.
This £20 million has been matched with another £20 million from industry operators such as Dell, Microsoft and Cisco.
Speaking to Computer Business Review, IoC Director Dr Rachid Hourizi claimed the UK needed 518,000 workers by the year 2022, but that in the last ten years only 164,000 graduated with a first degree in computer science.
He commented that: “It’s not just a problem, it’s an order of magnitude problem.”
The Institute is being setup in a way that it will be university-based, but will be in partnership with industry and employers in digital sectors to better understand their needs.
“The whole point is that industry and educators sit together to develop courses that work for both of them,” Dr Hourizi states.
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. No extension will be given to this end date.