Free tech academy to teach core digital skills to 100,000 students in next 5 years

Bright Network’s new technology training academy will upskill young people across the UK, leading to sought-after placements with some of the industry’s leading companies

A technology academy established by Bright Network is set to instil core digital skills in 100,000 young people across the UK, for free, over the next five years.

The programme was launched yesterday (7 January), with the aim of creating the largest free digital training initiative for young people at both undergraduate and graduate level.

On top of teaching vital tech skills that are valued and in-demand, the initiative seeks to connect future talent with some of the sector’s leading players, such as Google, Capgemini, and Accenture.

Programme participants will benefit from free software training – including coding languages such as Python3. Over the next five years, successful applicants will take part in a 12-week instructor-led full stack web development boot camp, with the option of landing a no-obligation three-month placement with a top company, and potentially, a permanent role.

With current unemployment statistics demonstrating that employment among 16–24 year olds is at a record low, it’s thought that the programme will grant new demographics access to digital career opportunities, helping to address the digital skills shortage which currently costs employers £141bn per year.

Additionally, the programme was launched in response to Bright Network’s recent survey, which found that almost three quarters (72%) of students feel they do not possess the digital skills required to succeed in the working world.

“Our technology academy provides a solution to any graduate looking to secure employment, at a time in which we know the jobs market has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic” – James Uffindell, founder and CEO, Bright Network

Furthermore, the survey found that nearly three quarters (71%) of the UK’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) graduates hope to land a job in the UK’s £184bn tech sector. As such, these graduates are most likely to seek training on new coding languages (46%) to give them an edge over competing candidates, while almost a quarter (24%) would like to deepen their understanding of various data analytics tools, such as Tableau and SQL.

With Bright Network’s Talent Tracker also uncovering that COVID-19 has dampened graduate expectations regarding their future career prospects, with 65% claiming they aren’t confident they’ll secure a graduate role, and 85% feeling more under pressure in their career search due to pandemic-fuelled uncertainty, the free upskilling programme is a welcome addition to the sector.

James Uffindell, founder and CEO of Bright Network, commented: “Our technology academy provides a solution to any graduate looking to secure employment, at a time in which we know the jobs market has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We provide this training at no cost to graduates, and with no obligation to take up the role we provide them with, while our bootcamp aims to supercharge the supply of top-in-class software developers, and increase diversity in this crucial profession.

“Given the uncertainty facing the UK’s economy, it’s more important than ever that we ensure our graduates are as work-ready as possible, and that we’re supporting employers by ensuring a sufficient supply of bright, skilled graduates to drive the next phase of growth for the UK’s tech ecosystem.”

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