Open University (OU) academics were among the 200 guests at the formal launch at the House of Lords of the Institute of Coding (IoC) – a consortium, with a mission to develop the next generation of digital talent.
Working with the IoC , the OU will bring together the worlds of academia and industry with a remit to spread digital skills across the UK. The IoC organisation will work specifically to develop specialist skills training in areas of strategic importance and boost equality and diversity in digital education and careers.
This will be delivered through degrees, degree apprenticeships, short courses, continuing professional development, innovative learning facilities and other outreach activities.
As part of its role, the IoC will also produce research, analysis and intelligence to anticipate future skills gaps across the UK workforce.
The Institute of Coding is a £20 million government investment funded through the Office for Students, and is matched by £20 million pounds of investment from partners.
The Open University is one of the key partners in the Institute of Coding, leading on graduate employability and the teaching of computer science, data science and cyber security in universities. Its experience in delivering innovation and driving social mobility will help draw people of all backgrounds into studying IT and computing.
Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said at the launch on June 21 2018:
The Institute of Coding will play a vital role in ensuring we can continue to generate the world-class pipeline of digital specialists the UK needs and improve education for everyone.
He added: “Backed by £20 million of Government investment, this consortium of over 60 universities, businesses and industry experts will help people of all ages gain the skills they need to secure a range of exciting careers in fields such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
“This is central to the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which aims to make sure we are all equipped for the jobs of the future. I would like to thank everyone involved for their work so far and I’m looking forward to hearing how the Institute of Coding progresses.”
Support for traditionally underrepresented groups
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students, said: “The Institute of Coding is a fantastic example of universities and businesses working together to develop the digital skills needed for the UK economy. I am delighted that the institute will also encourage and support groups who are traditionally underrepresented in the digital sector, including female school leavers and women returners.”
Dr Rachid Hourizi, director, Institute of Coding comments:
“We have a clear commitment to tackling the digital skills shortfall by making it easier for students, people at work and potential learners that we have not previously reached to access higher education and improve their technical abilities. We believe every person, whatever their background, deserves the opportunity to improve their digital skillsets through flexible learning convenient to their needs, whether that be face-to-face or online, full or part-time and as a stand-alone activity or part of an existing job.
“The IoC has already established a network of 25 academic institutions and 60 businesses to deliver these programmes. We are working closely with our partners in industry to help equip new entrants and experienced professionals with the skills they need to thrive in the digital economy.”
Professor John Domingue, the OU’s project lead, said:
The Open University, as a leading member of this new and much-needed institution, is proud to see it launched today. We are excited to be at the forefront of educating the next generation of computer scientists and digital technicians and to pave the way for better digital skills provision in the UK.
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