/Landmark moment as MILLIONTH learner takes IoC digital skills course

  • One million learners have undertaken digital skills programmes in the last five years through the Institute of Coding (IoC). 47% identify as women.
  • Industry leaders have hailed the effort as a “phenomenal success” in helping to boost the UK as a tech superpower.
  • The millionth learner is Molly Smailova, a young mum from the North East who is undertaking her course while pregnant with her third child.

The Institute of Coding (IoC), led by the University of Bath, has today [15th August 2023] announced that one million learners have participated in its range of digital skills programmes.

The IoC’s latest initiative, Click Start, is a national programme which helps to close the UK’s digital skills gap, with reports suggesting 10.2 million adults lack the necessary skills for getting online. There are 870,000 job vacancies in the tech sector.

Click Start supports those who experience barriers to accessing education, while boosting diversity within the tech industry. The programme is funded by Nominet, the public benefit company that operates and protects .UK internet infrastructure.

Five years after the IoC launched, the one millionth learner to take a course is Molly Smailova, a mum from the North East learning tech skills while pregnant with her third child.

Molly is taking the Click Start TechUPWomen programme at Durham University, which specifically targets young women across the North, giving them vital digital skills to kickstart a career in tech.  


Professor Rachid Hourizi MBE, Director of the Institute of Coding, said:

“Today’s milestone achievement demonstrates the success of the IoC’s hugely collaborative work across the UK, supported by educators, employers and charities, to maximise the opportunities for people from all walks of life.

“We are so proud that a million people have now taken an IoC programme, boosting their confidence and earning power. Soon everyone will know someone who has benefited from the digital skills learning and careers support we provide.”


Molly Smailova, the one millionth Institute of Coding learner, said:

“I previously worked in the recruitment industry and was always interested in tech roles but I never knew where to get the skills I needed to change my career.

“The flexible programme allowed me to complete my studies alongside caring for my two young children, with my experiences giving me the confidence boost I need to succeed in becoming a data analyst.”

The IoC’s career-ready courses on cyber security, website development and data programming feature access to specialist careers guidance and mentoring from tech industry leaders.

The programmes are based on flexible, short courses, which can be taken around existing responsibilities, boosting learners’ future earning power and driving social mobility.

Meanwhile, the Institute’s has driven inclusion in the tech sector with hundreds of thousands of young people from low-income and marginalised backgrounds embarking on new digital careers. 47% identify as women.


Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Chair Institute of Coding and Board Member at techUK, added: 

“These skills are the building blocks in enabling the UK to maintain its position as a global leader in tech.

“The Institute of Coding matches tech skills with the needs of industry and lays the foundation for individual careers whilst also unlocking the potential for industry to power economic growth.”

Prof. Sue Black OBE, Professor of Computer Science at Durham University, said: 

As someone who left school at the age of 16 and completed a PhD as a single mum-of-three, I know how important it is to give people career support and development opportunities throughout their lives.

“Running our TechUPWomen programme at Durham University as part of the Institute of Coding’s work to diversify the tech industry has been amazing. We believe passionately that that tech upskilling changes lives for the better and we are delighted to have been working with IoC on this for several years now. 

“We need to make sure that UK remains a global player in digital innovation, the IoC initiatives demonstrate how we can really make a difference and give people opportunities across the UK.”


Further details can be found here: https://instituteofcoding.org/

According to IPSOS Mori, Around 10.2 million (20%) UK adults lack the Foundation Level of digital skills. See their report Essential Skills UK 2022.

About the Institute of Coding

The Institute of Coding (IoC), led by the University of Bath, was launched in 2018 by the then Prime Minister, Theresa May. It is a collaborative national consortium of industry, educators and outreach providers, working together to respond to the UK’s digital skills gap through the delivery of employer-led digital skills education. Through this collaborative approach, IoC partners have created more than 150 new courses that have engaged one million diverse learners to date.

About Nominet

Nominet is a public benefit company, driven by a commitment to use technology to improve connectivity, security and inclusivity online.  For 25 years, Nominet has, developing an expertise in the Domain Name System (DNS) that now underpins sophisticated threat monitoring, detection, prevention, and analytics that is used by governments to mitigate cyber threats. Our social impact programme provides funding, support, and opportunities to help tackle some of the most important digital issues facing young people in the UK today.

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