Tuesday 14 December 2021

Hoberman's coding college tackles UK tech skills gap

Digital skills picSaturday's edition of The Times reported on an initiative by co-founder Brent Hoberman to establish a coding college without lecturers, where students pay no fees and learn by playing computer games.

The first campus of the college opened six months ago in London with 65 students selected out of 6,000 applicants. The two-year course is entirely free for students, with around half on means-tested support. Graduates are guaranteed a job with one of the corporate partners of the initiative. Encouragingly, The Times reports that about a third of the current student intake is female, which is about three times the average on computer science degree courses.

TechMarketView has long advocated the need for new initiatives to tackle the skills gap in the tech sector. The Learning & Work Institute has described the current lack of technical skills in the workforce as "catastrophic", as we reported earlier in the year. Indeed, we would argue that improving the tech skills base of the UK workforce is essential to increasing economic productivity, which was described as "dire" in a recent report by the Resolution Foundation and the LSE.

In this context, Hoberman's initiative is to be thoroughly applauded. The learning model - whereby students teach themselves and each other through computer challenges, without the support of lecturers - won't appeal to every prospective computing student. But judging by the number of applicants, it will still appeal to a very great number - and indeed may encourage some who may have been put off by a more traditional learning path. And the fact that it is industry-led should ensure the curriculum remains relevant to what is really needed by business.

Hoberman's ambition is to train 100,000 software programmers by 2030 in campuses around the country. Let's hope he is successful.

Posted by Tania Wilson at '08:55' - Tagged: skills   training   resilience