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</Reflecting on the IoC’s impact in 2020>

Published on 10 December 2020 by web editor

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Making digital skills education more accessible to a larger and more diverse group of people

2020 has been a challenging and uncertain year for many. The Institute of Coding (IoC) has worked to quickly respond to changing circumstances, rising unemployment and national need. In the last year, the IoC has reached numerous positive milestones that demonstrate our impact, innovation, reach and ability to support a diverse group of people as they look to boost their employability. The pandemic is highlighting a need for a pivot to digital and the IoC is contributing to the UK’s economic recovery by helping people to upskill and reskill for jobs in the growing tech sector.

If you are new to our work, the IoC is a national initiative – led by the University of Bath and funded by the Office for Students – established to respond to the growing digital skills gap in the UK. Since our launch in 2018, IoC partners in education, industry and outreach have worked together to build collaborative links that have transformed the delivery of digital skills education and created course offerings that are more accessible to a broader range of people, wherever they are in their lives or career paths.

Read on to see a few of our key highlights from the year. If you are interested in learning more, please visit our website to read news from around our consortium.

Reaching a larger, more diverse group of people in 2020

To date, the IoC has enrolled more than 675,000 learners, bringing together 35 universities and more than 200 industry partners to deliver 150+ courses and events. More than 600,000 of those learners are registered on online courses from the IoC’s partners, demonstrating the continued need for flexible digital skills provision. Importantly, the IoC has also diversified access to digital skills and achieved sector-leading inclusion on our short, online courses (on which, 46% of learners identify as women).

Learn more about the appeal of online digital skills education in our case study on the Digital Skills for the Workplace course collection, created by the University of Leeds and hosted on FutureLearn.

Pandemic response

In addition to the ongoing provision of short, online courses that are accessible for people working and learning from home, IoC partners rapidly responded to the pandemic by moving a variety of programmes and events like the  Do Good with Digital event, Exeter’s Summer School and the Digital Women event from Manchester Metropolitan and Newcastle universities to online formats. These online programmes were well attended and learners provided highly positive feedback.

It was amazing to be in such a constructive environment. It has given me confidence in my ideas and to develop them further. It was also so inspiring to be working with so many amazing women and girls and to really feel the empowerment.” Abigael, online learner from the Do Good with Digital event

New partnerships

IoC partners also forged innovative new relationships with key sectors and industry groups in 2020. For example, the IoC, Newcastle University and Health Education England co-developed a Health Informatics CPD programme for healthcare professionals, which is responding to the digital skills gap in healthcare.

Work like this is happening around our consortium. Sign up to receive the IoC newsletter to be kept up-to-date on our new developments.

Recognition and awards

IoC partners have been recognised for their work this year with a large number of courses and course collections (18 in total) being included in The Skills Toolkit, a new (and now expanded) online platform from the Department for Education. The Skills Toolkit is an online platform that gives access to free, high-quality digital, numeracy and employability courses to help people build up their skills, progress in work and boost job prospects.

The IoC is working to keep the focus on diversity and inclusion in all activities, and engaged with a more diverse group of potential learners through the multi-award-winning outreach and engagement campaign called CTRL Your Future. IoC partners have also delivered award-winning, highly inclusive programmes like techUPWomen, which helped 100 women upskill for careers in tech.

Looking forward to 2021

As this year comes to a close and we begin planning for 2021, the IoC and partners will continue to accelerate the move to flexible and modular educational delivery and align industry and educators more closely to ensure people are getting the skills employers need. This will create a more diverse tech workforce and help people improve their employability in the growing tech sector.

The IoC project is scheduled to end 31st March 2021. As phase one of our work draws to a close, we are working with partners in industry and government to consider the next steps for the IoC.


If you are interested in exploring our online courses, please visit the IoC’s course catalogue and check out what we have to offer. If you are an employer or educator who would like more information, please email ioc@bath.ac.uk.

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