Programme to plug digital skills gap in South Yorkshire welcomes first students

The 16-week EyUp Skills initiative instils participants with sought-after knowledge and expertise in software development

A programme that aims to plug the digital skills gap in South Yorkshire has welcomed its first student cohort.

Created by technology entrepreneur David Richards, the EyUp Skills programme educates participants on the competencies and methods currently used in software development. The award-winning coding course will take place in Sheffield and is delivered in partnership with iO Academy.

The 16-week, industry-aligned initiative has been designed to equip aspiring developers with the skills needed to thrive as professionals in the field. This year’s cohort of seven students includes four women and three men from diverse backgrounds, and between the ages of 20 and 46.

Ava, a former film studies student, has taken on various entry-level positions while simultaneously pursuing a career in the arts. After recognising her growing interest in coding, she opted to take part in the course after losing her job during the pandemic. She hopes, eventually, to use her skills to help people with learning disabilities. “iO Academy was my first choice based on reviews and when I saw it was launching in Sheffield with EyUp Skills it was the perfect opportunity.”

“It’s like a logic puzzle; I find it challenging and extremely satisfying” – Eleanor, EyUp Skills student

Fellow participant Eleanor is a forensic science graduate. After working for six years as a bartender, she is now “getting down and dirty with some code”. Of software development, Eleanor said: “It’s like a logic puzzle; I find it challenging and extremely satisfying.”

The initiative has a bursary scheme to fund course places for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, or those who are underrepresented in tech-based industries.

On the programme launch, David Richards, founder of EyUp Skills, commented: “We’re thrilled with our first cohort of students and excited at their potential to become great software developers. As CEO of a successful technology company, I know their skills will be in great demand and I am confident they will find rewarding careers after they complete our course. Skills development is key to economic regeneration and we are delighted to be playing our part, starting in South Yorkshire.”

All applicants are evaluated based on aptitude over experience. Click here to find out more about joining the next EyUp Skills cohort.

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