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</ICON newsletter – March 2021>

Published on 1 April 2021 by web editor


Bringing you the latest news from the Institute of Coding (IoC)

Thank you for reading this edition of the ICON newsletter. I hope you and your families are doing well and are looking forward to a summer that will hopefully have more opportunities for in-person contact and activities.

As the IoC recently celebrated its third birthday, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the hard work and impact achieved by our consortium and partners. Over the last three years, the consortium has developed award-winning programmes, courses and events that have helped a larger and more diverse group of people upskill and reskill for jobs in the tech sector. This includes more than 800,000 learners enrolled to date with impressive diversity (46% women on our online courses).

Looking forward, it continues to be incredibly important that there are accessible opportunities for people to boost their employability through digital skills courses, and we are continuing to seek collaborative ways to provide this.

Please keep reading for more updates and news. And again, thank you to the IoC consortium and partners for your incredible effort. I’m proud of the impact we have had and look forward to the future.


Tech sector growth creates massive opportunity for people to train for digital careers

Recent data shows that, despite the pandemic, the tech sector saw growth in 2020. A new Tech Nation report says that, if this growth continues, the tech sector will have 100,000 job openings per month by the end of June 2021.

With more than 1.7 million people out of work in the UK, there is an opportunity for a national pivot to digital skills which will support the UK’s economic recovery. The IoC is helping to power this pivot and has already enrolled more than 800,000 people as we mark three years of upskilling learners and supporting their journey into the sector.

New report from FutureLearn shows global trends in education

Image of a women looking at a phone

In 2020, online education provider FutureLearn commissioned YouGov to undertake a global study to explore the future of learning. The results of this study have been compiled in The Future of Learning Report, which explores what and why people are learning online, the impact of COVID-19, as well as the opportunities and challenges related to the future of education. We contributed to this report by sharing the IoC’s experience with online digital skills education.

Tech Talent Charter is working for meaningful solutions

Tech Talent Charter (TTC) held their Inclusion in Tech Flexi Festival 24-26 February 2021 and it focused on having tough conversations for meaningful solutions to improve inclusion and diversity in tech. Over the three-day festival, discussion topics included headlines from TTC’s 2020 Diversity in Tech Report and key insights and strategies from experts and employers in tech.

2021 Digital Skills Audit

The UK Tech Cluster Group recently launched their 2021 Digital Skills Audit, which was compiled with support from the IoC. The research returned by the Skills Audit looks at the issues in digital and tech that need to be prioritised and new or emerging trends as a result of the pandemic.

Want to construct a virtual reality experience?

A new course, developed by Lancaster University with the IoC and FutureLearn, is open for enrolment. This four-week course will teach you what virtual reality is, how it can be used, and how you can create it in JavaScript.

It’s one of many short courses from IoC partners on the FutureLearn platform. These high-quality, online courses help people to develop skills that employers are looking for.

Explore if data science or AI is right for you

The IoC is supporting a Coventry University led consortium that is helping a more diverse group of people from non-tech backgrounds to pursue specialist careers in data science and AI. If you’re interested in learning more, sign up for the free two-week taster course starting on the 12th of April. This course will help you identify whether you’re ready for Master’s study, improve your data science skills, and teach you the basics of Python.

New blogs and case studies

Here are a selection of our latest items. If you’re interested in seeing more, please have a look at the case studies and blogs on our website.

The Step into Tech programme from Accenture and the IoC at Newcastle University

A new higher degree apprenticeship programme, developed by Newcastle University and global professional services company Accenture, welcomed its first 12 new recruits in January. The Step into Tech programme is aimed at individuals without technical backgrounds who want to enter a career in the technology sector.

Digital bootcamp helps mum retrain for cyber security career

As part of the IoC, the University of Sunderland partnered with Digital Union to provide a series of free top up technical courses and Digital Bootcamps to increase the employment skills of graduates and students. Read how the bootcamps helped new mum Kimberly retrain for a cyber-security career.

The IoC is supporting the OU and Cisco to educate the educators

The Educating the Educators programme was developed by the OU and Cisco, with support from the IoC. Dr Patricia Charlton, Project Lead for IoC Open University, has written a blog post about the programme and its impact (which includes reaching more than 11,500 educators to date!).

Recapping the IMAI’s roundtable: The Big AI Debate

At the end of February, the Industrial Masters in Artificial Intelligence Programme (IMAI) team held the last in a series of roundtable events. The event, called ‘The AI Big Debate’ included two panel discussions – ‘AI: For the Many or the Few?’ and ‘Bringing AI to the Point of Care’.

You can read more about the event and listen to the panel discussions here.

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