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Rebecca Wayman

University of Leeds drives new £4.8m Institute of Coding digital skills training

The University of Leeds has partnered with the Institute of Coding and FutureLearn to create new online courses to support the next generation of digital talent.

As part of the government’s efforts to drive digital skills through its Industrial Strategy, the Institute of Coding (IoC) has announced an extra £4.8m to help tackle the UK’s digital skills gap.

A consortium led by the University of Leeds has secured £500k to launch a programme called The IoC guide to kick starting your career with 21C skills.

The online courses - delivered through digital education platform FutureLearn - are designed to focus on digital employability skills for people in the 18 - 25 age group and will be available later this year.

Carol Elston, head of Leeds’ digital education service, said: “We know recruiters have identified certain gaps in digital skills, so we’re designing these short online courses to meet the needs of employers.

“This investment will support a more diverse workforce and means learners from different backgrounds, particularly groups who are under-represented or disadvantaged, will all have the chance to improve knowledge of digital technologies and skills.”

The University and FutureLearn are working with partners, including NetMums and UK Black Tech, to ensure the courses are relevant and engage under-represented learners.

Chris Millward is the director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students, which contributed £2.4m towards the IoC initiative.

Chris added: “Digital skills are vital for the economy, now and in the future, which is why we are backing this important initiative to boost equality and diversity in STEM education, develop the workforce that employers will need to meet future digital challenges, and open up the jobs of the future to graduates from all backgrounds.”

The new Institute of Coding courses are part of the university’s desire to widen access to higher education by offering a flexible and inclusive education.

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