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</Institute of Coding to “unlock new skills and new jobs” for over 26,000 learners>

Published on 26 June 2023 by Simona Matache


  • The Institute of Coding (IoC) has launched a series of free digital skills programmes targeting
    learners from low-income and minority backgrounds across the UK
  • More than 26,000 learners across the country will begin IoC programmes within weeks, with
    tailored careers support designed to help learners into employment in the tech industry
  • The £12 million Click Start initiative will tackle the UK’s digital skills and social mobility gap
    funded by public benefit company, Nominet

The Institute of Coding (IoC), led by the University of Bath, has today [26th June 2023] launched a
national digital skills programme, Click Start, focused on tackling the digital skills gap and improving
social mobility.

The IoC and its partners are launching free training programmes – funded by public benefit company
Nominet who uses its funds to support pioneering work that promotes digital inclusion and skills – to
more than 26,000 young people. The courses will develop learners’ digital skills, helping them to secure
employment across a variety of industries.

As part of the Click Start programme, the University of Leeds have devised a range of online courses
which are hosted on the Coursera platform, allowing learners to access up to 30 courses, from the
comfort of their homes. 18 of the courses will be available from launch, and they can opt in to as
many of these as they like – for free – within a three-month period. Each course takes six to eight
hours to complete.

Around the country, the programme also offers learners hybrid in-person/online courses to develop
their digital skills, to grow their confidence and boost their chances of employment.

On many of these, charity partners will provide learners with additional support, such as careers advice
and mentoring by tech industry leaders.

Projects include:

  • Abertay University have partnered with Salute My Job, working with ex-armed forces
  • Be the Business, working with the University of East London and Forward Trust to support
    underrepresented ethnic groups to gain digital skills within SMEs;
  • Bath Spa University working with Catch 22 and partners to deliver UX/UI and Web Development
    training to disadvantaged groups in the South West;
  • TechUPWomen at Durham University working with women and non-binary people across the
    North and North East, offering 6-week to 12-week hybrid IT skills programmes and specialist
    careers support from Catch 22.

Click Start’s launch follows London Tech Week, where industry leaders, including Prime Minister Rishi
, called for swift action to ensure the UK retains its position as one of the world’s tech capitals.
Research from Tech Nation suggests there are an estimated 870,000 tech sector vacancies across the

The IoC has already offered 150 digital skills training and employability programmes to over 900,000
learners across the UK.

Leaders from across the tech industry and have praised the IoC and their partners for their efforts to
tackle the combined digital skills and social mobility gap across the UK.

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 mature student, and a single
mum-of-three, I know how important it is to give people access to the right guidance and support
throughout their lives in order to increase diversity within our sector.

“To ensure the UK remains a global player in technological innovation, we must supercharge our
support for people from all walks of life to gain the skills they need to succeed in the digital economy.
The Institute of Coding’s programmes do just that.”

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

“This programme, funded by Nominet, reflects the two organisations’ commitment to social mobility
and inclusion. Our shared mission is to give people new skills that help them unlock new jobs and

“The UK faces significant digital skills and recruitment challenges, compounded by a fragile talent
pipeline, insufficient growth and insufficient diversity.

“Today’s launch will see thousands more people from disadvantaged and under-represented groups
achieve their true potential in this field by offering different pathways to skills and employment, and
entry into digital careers.”

Paul Fletcher, CEO of Nominet, said:

“The UK has lower rates of social mobility than other developed countries, meaning many people,
regardless of their talent or hard work, lack the opportunity to gain employment, develop meaningful
careers and reach their full potential.

“This project aims to innovatively bridge this gap and get people from disadvantaged backgrounds into
digital careers. It’s a national challenge that we are tackling online as well as through local institutions
really getting into the heart of communities across the UK.”

Further details on Click Start courses can be found here:

About the Institute of Coding

The Institute of Coding (IoC), led by the University of Bath, is a collaborative national consortium of
industry, educators and outreach providers that are 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 over
900,000 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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