CodeClan’s role in shaping the digital landscape - Melinda Matthews Clarkson

The last couple of years have seen our team build an even better product, says the CodeClan boss. Picture: Stewart Attwood.
The last couple of years have seen our team build an even better product, says the CodeClan boss. Picture: Stewart Attwood.
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This week sees the fourth anniversary of CodeClan – we’re very excited and will be raising a glass or two with friends to mark the occasion.

More than 800 people have graduated from our software development and data analytics programmes, with the majority going on to work in technical roles with 250-plus employer partners – large corporates, financial institutions, public sector bodies, scale-ups, and start-ups.

CodeClan’s raison d’être is to bridge Scotland’s digital skills gap and we know how successfully we advance digital skills in this country will be key to how Scotland competes and prospers in the 21st century. Commentators agree that we don’t know what more than 50 per cent of our jobs will look like in the future, such is the pace of technological change. This means we need to be ready to adapt to tech trends in areas such as data science and machine learning.

Industry research tells us that the most successful firms require access to skilled workers and the European Commission believes there could be almost 250,000 unfulfilled jobs in the European information and communications tech sector by 2020. Globally, the World Economic Forum expects there to be more than 100 million new roles generated by the fourth industrial revolution by 2022.

In Scotland, it’s important that we keep abreast of global trends and ensure that we are equipping the nation’s people with the tools they need to compete not only at home but on the international stage. In an increasingly data-driven world, we must keep ahead of the curve.

Progress

Founded in 2015 with support from the Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies, we have progressed to a self-funding model while retaining our not-for-profit status. CodeClan now has growing campuses in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness. We know the links to the Scottish industry through our employer network – commercial and public sector organisations who hire our talented graduates – are crucial not only to our own success but, more importantly, to the future success of Scotland’s economy.

READ MORE: CodeClan welcomes first industry partners to join new Highlands campus
READ MORE: PwC inks deal with CodeClan to tap into tech-savvy workers
At a recent Scottish Chambers of Commerce dinner, I was thrilled to hear from John Swinney that the Scottish Government considers CodeClan one of its top achievements of recent times where the public sector and industry united for the greater good. This week, we look forward to being joined by digital minister Kate Forbes as we celebrate our anniversary.

When I joined CodeClan as CEO from IBM in 2017, the nation’s digital skills academy was already providing a new way to help people reskill and retrain. The last couple of years have seen our team build what I believe is an even better product with a stronger market fit. We have added essential 21st-century meta skills or soft skills to the programme.

Our partners have given us feedback and looking at the most successful firms in today’s market, being able to be problem solvers, open to new ideas, resilient to change and most of all to be able to manage one’s personal health (mind and body) is key to success in a career and the ecosystem of digital.

Operating highlights in 2019 for CodeClan have included the opening of the Highlands Campus in Inverness in April, learning and wellbeing sessions added to the programme, partnerships with charities and not-for-profits that need technical assistance, a strategic partnership with technology recruitment specialist Eden Scott to provide career support to CodeClan graduates after 18 months in a job and the strengthening of CodeClan’s leadership and instructor team.

It’s a testament to the whole team, our graduates and our employer partners that we look ahead with even greater optimism on the occasion of our fourth anniversary. Our people, our graduates and our employer partners combine to form a virtuous circle that makes CodeClan work – and we’re excited to be delivering real impact on the Scottish digital scene.

Melinda Matthews Clarkson is the CEO of CodeClan