Coventry University to tackle the UK’s digital skills gap through leading role in new government backed Institute of Coding

Coventry University is playing a major part in a new government backed national initiative to grow and develop digital skills for the current and future needs of industry.

The newly established Institute of Coding  – announced today (Thursday 25 January) by Prime Minister Theresa May in a speech to the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos – brings together a range of universities, industry, training providers and professional bodies to tackle the UK’s digital skills gap.

Described by the Prime Minister as a key part of the government’s efforts to drive up digital skills through the Industrial Strategy, the Institute has been made possible with £20m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and £20m match funding from universities and industry partners.

As a key member of the consortium, Coventry University will lead on supporting professions undergoing digital transformation by retraining learners via new digital training programmes provided both online and face-to-face.

Specifically, Coventry will be working with industry partners to develop digital skills in the following industry sectors: advanced manufacturing and logistics (with Unipart and AME); transport and automotive (with HORIBA MIRA); the creative economy (with the Emerald Group); and healthcare.

The university will also be supporting a national network of Digital Skills Software Agencies to initiate, develop, and deliver industry-led student projects as well as providing policy and research support for the development of a “National Digital Skills Observatory.”

In addition, Coventry’s partnership with social learning providers and Institute consortium member FutureLearn, which will see the delivery of 50 wholly online degrees over the next five years, will also inform the Institute’s teaching and learning activities.

John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, said:

“The Institute of Coding is the kind of skills partnership between higher education and employers that will be key to the success of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

“Coventry’s experience in this area includes the creation of one of the first degree courses in Ethical Hacking & Cyber Security as well as partnering with organisations like HORIBA MIRA and Unipart on ground-breaking robotics, automation and connected vehicle projects.

“Our role in the Institute will allow us to build on these partnerships to improve digital skills provision for the advanced manufacturing and automotive professions as well as the creative economy. We are also focused on the challenges of digital healthcare as part of a commitment to provide digital upskilling across a range of professions.

“Our long-term partnership with FutureLearn will also make a major contribution to this project.”

“So we’re well-placed to play a key role through a new programme of teaching, knowledge exchange and professional development, as well as research and policy support.”

Dr Rachid Hourizi, Director of the Institute of Coding, said:

“The strength of the Institute of Coding lies in the fact that it brings together educators, employers and outreach groups to co-develop digital skills education at undergraduate and masters level for learners in universities, at work and in previously under-supported groups across the country.”