New, 'improved' return of Scots digital skills academy that folded in 2023

“Establishing a route for people to switch careers into technology is vital to meeting the talent needs of Scotland’s tech sector.”

Scottish digital skills academy CodeClan is returning, amid cited sky-high industry demand and with a more robust business model plus eyes on a Scotland-wide rollout, after causing major shockwaves when it folded in the second half of last year.

Tech incubator CodeBase is relaunching the venture, with the pilot with Edinburgh College, Borders College, and West Lothian College set to kick off this summer with programme content delivered by Silicon Valley education platform Qwasar.

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The move comes after CodeClan went into liquidation in August, with CodeBase acquiring some of its assets and enabling around 80 students to complete courses in software-development and data analysis later that year.

CodeBase says the relaunch is in response to high levels of industry demand for software-development and data-science expertise, an acute requirement for upskilling to address the digital skills gap, and the potential to accelerate economic impact.

The tech incubator, which says it is the largest such organisation in the UK and also runs the Scottish Government’s start-up support programme Techscaler, is in talks with other colleges, and the public and corporate sectors, with a view to a Scotland-wide rollout of CodeClan as early as next year.

Mark Logan, chief entrepreneurial adviser to the Scottish Government, said: “Establishing a route for people to switch careers into technology is vital to meeting the talent needs of Scotland’s tech sector. I’m particularly excited about the new CodeClan’s highly scalable delivery model. The three-way partnership between CodeBase, Qwasar, and Scotland’s college network makes possible a national scale programme, combining in-person and online training with world-class, constantly refreshed learning materials. By leveraging these assets in combination, the CodeClan model is also now significantly cheaper, and removes the payment burden for employers too, which was a problematic area for the prior CodeClan model.”

Martin Boyle, vice president of transformation and strategic relationships at CodeBase, said: “We have spent the last few months reassessing the CodeClan model, and with Qwasar in place we have a world-class content provider that is aligned with the latest needs of industry, delivered through the Scottish college network. While the pilot is relatively small and regionally-focused for now, we envisage Scotland-wide provision in due course.”

CodeBase says the relaunch is in response to high levels of industry demand for software-development and data-science expertise. Picture: Stewart Attwood.CodeBase says the relaunch is in response to high levels of industry demand for software-development and data-science expertise. Picture: Stewart Attwood.
CodeBase says the relaunch is in response to high levels of industry demand for software-development and data-science expertise. Picture: Stewart Attwood.

Qwasar Silicon Valley, which describes itself as “the only training provider that trains to Silicon Valley standards in software engineering”, was founded in 2019, with Scotland-born co-founder Jennifer Robertson stating: “We are excited to see this launch alongside CodeBase. Anyone can do [our programmes] – yes, it takes effort and there is a lot of coding, but it’s these kinds of courses and hands-on learning pathways that allow anyone to succeed and turn cities and countries into talent powerhouses. The time for this is now.”

Jackie Galbraith, principal at West Lothian College, said: “We’re delighted to be one of the pilot colleges in this new and exciting partnership. The three colleges are ideally placed to support the programme and the students undertaking this ground-breaking initiative, and we look forward to working with Qwasar and CodeBase.”

CodeClan set out in 2015 promising to “allow Scotland’s vibrant digital sector to flourish and drive the economy”, but abruptly collapsed last year with the loss of all 57 jobs.

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