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Minister welcomes first students

CodeClan now on course to fill skills shortage

CodeClan Students

Scotland’s first academy dedicated to producing a new generation of programmers with digital software skills has welcomed its first 15 students.

CodeClan aims to provide a supply of trained engineers to fill 11,000 vacancies a year in the country’s booming technology sector.

The academy is based on the success of a new breed of intensive coding schools such as Makers, launched in London in 2013, Stackademy in Berlin and Flatiron School in New York.

Two big-hitters have been hired: Michael Pavling from London, who is head of curriculum, and Harvey Wheaton, who has been working in Finland and is chief executive.

Topics taught include data structures, algorithms, databases, object oriented design and programming, development methodologies, UX [user experience] and more ‘soft’ skills like communication

However, applicants for the courses do not need to have a technical background.

It offers places to anyone looking at a switch in career. Among the 15 students on the inaugural 16-week course is a graduate who worked at Tesco for eight years, a television installer and a Hungarian radio presenter and bartender.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who opened the academy at the Codebase incubator in Edinburgh, said it was a “fascinating period for the digital sector in Scotland”.

Addressing a gathering of employers and agencies, he paid tribute to the efforts of Polly  Purvis at trade body ScotlandIS who had worked on the idea with employers.

“We have moved as swiftly as we can to address the requirements identified by ScotlandIS. This is an initiative which has enormous potential,” said Mr Swinney.

John Swinney at CodeClanIt is estimated that the IT sector employs 84,000 people in Scotland, contributing £4 billion in added value to the economy.

However, the skills shortage has become an acute problem and employers have worked with ScotlandIS, Skills Development Scotland and other agencies to create the academy.

John McLelland, chairman of Skills Development Scotland, said: “When you walk around the building you sense the creativity and excitement.”

He added: “This is just a part of what we are doing. Digital World is a marketing campaign aimed at attracting young people into the industry.”

>> Interview with Harvey Wheaton

Photos: By Terry Murden



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