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</ICON Newsletter – January 2020>

Published on 5 February 2020 by web editor


Bringing you the latest news on the Institute of Coding, with a wrap up of 2019, what we’re looking forward to in 2020, and our regular update from the IoC’s Director.

Thank you for reading our ICON newsletter. As we start the new year, I wanted to reflect on the progress that the IoC has achieved this year, and share some of our plans for 2020.

We are proud of all of the work completed by the IoC and our partners in 2019, and here are a few highlights:

  • We celebrated our first birthday in January by sharing cupcakes with our consortium. We hope that you will join us in celebrating our second birthday in January 2020. Please stay tuned for more information and ways you can support on social media.
  • In February, we announced the winners of the Future Project Fund grant. Since then, our university partners in Leeds, Durham, Birkbeck, UAL and Chester have all made excellent progress in their respective projects. We’d like to particularly highlight the work of Durham University as they come to the end of their first cohort of the TechUP! Women programme. Launched in summer 2019, TechUP! is helping 100 women from underrepresented communities kick-start their careers in tech. Watch their documentaries here.
  • We held our first annual conference in March, which brought together representatives from industry, higher education and government to discuss the digital skills gap. View videos, podcasts and presentations from the 2019 conference here.
  • In July, we were pleased to launch our course catalogue in collaboration with FutureLearn. The catalogue is unique because it aggregates the 180+ courses from our partners in one place, so that learners can easily find a digital skills course that suits them. If you haven’t explored the catalogue yet, please visit it to see the wide range of courses available.
  • In October, our CTRL Your Future campaign launched on Ada Lovelace Day at the techUK conference, and campaign events ran throughout November and December. Find out more in our CTRL Your Future feature below.
  • In December, we celebrated signing up over 32,000 learners to over 100 IoC-created digital skills courses.
  • Further 2019 highlights include a suite of 10 courses developed at Newcastle University in partnership with the NHS and short online courses from Coventry University, such as an Introduction to Cryptography and the Basics of Network Security, which can be studied independently or used as building blocks towards an MSc in Cyber Security.

Looking forward to 2020
2020 is already shaping up to be a busy year and our focus will be on the fundamental changes required to move to lifelong learning in the UK. As part of this work, the IoC’s partners are developing new courses in long and short formats, so more people can find a pathway to fit their interests and lifestyle. This month, for example, the University of Leeds is launching a new collection of online courses that will run on FutureLearn, designed to help learners boost their skills for the workplace. Please visit the IoC’s course catalogue to view regularly updated information about new and upcoming courses and watch our social media for more information.

IoC conference 2020 
We are also looking forward to our second annual conference in February, which will have a packed programme of sessions from employers and educators. We are particularly pleased to share that one of our keynote speakers will be founder and CEO of the Stemettes, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, who will be discussing the importance of diversity in tech. If you would like to attend and haven’t yet received an invitation, please email

I hope you enjoy this issue of ICON. If you have a feature that you would like to suggest for the next issue, please email


The first three months of our CTRL Your Future campaign have been packed with events and activities designed to show a diverse group of people how to start their digital skills journey and reshape the tech industry.

Interview with the Age Diversity Forum

Jill Cowles, the Age Diversity Forums’ Partnership Manager, recently spoke to the IoC about our course catalogue, the new CTRL Your Future campaign and why age diversity is an important element of responding to the UK’s digital skills gap. Watch the interview below.

New case studies and blogs

The Foundry – Bringing digital work experience & intrapreneurship opportunities to learners

Our newest case study comes from The Foundry at the University of the West of England. Opened in May 2019 by Universities Minister Chris Skidmore, the innovative new space offers a new kind of work experience for students. As traditional work experience can be restrictive for learners, The Foundry was created to bring that experience to the university, so learners can gain essential workplace skills without leaving campus. Leo Bagnucki, a UWE student who has used the space, said, “I met many people in The Foundry who had a very similar mind-set, but worked in completely different industries, which was not only inspiring at times, but has also let me learn new technologies from different areas.”

8 reasons to get into AI now

Undecided about what subject to study at university? In one of our latest blogs, Machine Learning Engineer Katerina Giannoukou explains why artificial intelligence (AI) is a great choice if you want to help shape the technologies of the future. Katerina says, “In this industry, there is always an element of surprise. We are at the cutting edge, trying new methods that sometimes generate extraordinary and ground-breaking results.”

If you want to start a career in AI, check out some of our partners’ courses that feature AI, like UWE’s Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics – Professional courseUAL’s BSc in Creative Computing, or Coventry’s MBA with Artificial Intelligence.

Changing higher education delivery to increase diversity

In November 2019, our Director Rachid delivered an online presentation during the Digital Leaders Insights Live, a virtual summit offering a range of webinars on current digital topics, and discussed how the IoC is offering new and accessible pathways to digital through higher education. For Rachid, it’s important that digital is made accessible to a larger and more diverse group of learners – “If we ensure that diverse groups are encouraged into digital, products coming out of the industry will be better, more innovative and will serve a wider group of people.”

To see our other blogs, case studies and updates, please visit our News Section.

The IoC is on Instagram!

We recently launched our new Instagram channel @instituteofcoding. On this new channel you can find more #CTRLYourFuture posts, stay updated on new courses and events and discover how you can kick-start your career in digital.

Follow us here!

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