Code First Girls surpasses goal to teach 20,000 young women to code

The UK non-profit is hosting a range of free learning programmes for women, hoping to assist in closing the STEM gender gap and help reach gender parity

UK social enterprise Code First Girls has reached a milestone in its plan to plug the gender gap seen across tech-based professions, surpassing its 2017 campaign goal to teach more than 20,000 young women in the UK and Ireland how to code.

With the Office for National Statistics (OfS) reporting that women account for just 16.8% of workers in the UK’s tech sector; and with just 19% of spaces on computer science courses at university level being occupied by girls, it’s clear that more has to be done to reach  gender parity in tech-focused roles. That’s why, over the last three years, Code First Girls has invested heavily in female education, becoming the largest provider of free coding courses for women, after having already delivered over £14 million worth of free technology education.

On top of this notable achievement, Code First Girls is unveiling its 2021 vision which has been designed to give women a fair advantage. The enterprise is pledging to double its community of women in tech over the next 12 months, furthering its efforts to help close the UK’s growing skills gap.

Throughout this year, Code First Girls has taught three times more women how to code than the nation’s entire undergraduate university system. Partnering with more than 50 higher education providers, Code First Girls now represents the largest university network in the country that’s entirely dedicated to bringing free coding courses to women.

As part of the project, the company will work alongside employers from a range of industries, collaborating on 12-week nano degrees to specifically train women for tech-relevant positions – including in software development. Code First Girls will offer a broad selection of short, accessible e-learning courses designed to instil desirable technical skills, confidence and to inspire career discovery; while classes teach core skills in things like web design, Python and data.

Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls, commented: “We’re thrilled to have been able to deliver on our promise to help 20,000 women learn to code. But we are just getting started. We’re launching a new strategy and urging businesses to help close the gender gap further through investing in female talent that want a career in tech, and create additional possibilities for them.

“COVID-19 accelerated appetite for coding education, as we saw an unprecedented growth, by 800 percent, in registrations for our virtual classes during lockdown. Coding education is important, now more than ever. Over the last few months, we have been working to help women who have been displaced by COVID-19 redundancies or entering a tough graduate market to reskill and find employment. Our priority has been to help women achieve jobs, at a time of deep economic and social uncertainty.”

Click here to find out more about Code First Girls.

You might also like: A quarter of British adults wish they had learnt coding at school


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