woman coding on laptop, Code First Girls

Code First Girls has surpassed its goal to teach 20,000 UK women to code, and announces plans to double this female tech community.

Code First Girls, the UK social enterprise working to close the gender gap in technology, has today announced it has surpassed its 2017 campaign goal to teach over 20,000 young women how to code in the UK and Ireland. Over the past three years, Code First Girls has become the largest provider of free coding courses for women, having delivered over £14million worth of free technology education. The announcement comes at a critical time to close the IT skills gap, only 19 percent of those pursuing Computer Science at higher education level are women.

As part of Code First Girls’ ongoing commitment to increase the representation of women in technology, the social enterprise is launching its 2021 vision to give women the fair advantage. Code First Girls is pledging to double its community of women in technology in 2021, in an effort to close the growing skills gap in the UK.

As part of their new strategy, Code First Girls are working with UK employers, across a range of industries, to develop twelve week nano degree programmes, which specifically train women for jobs including software developers. The social enterprise will also offer a breadth of short and accessible online courses designed to impart technical skills, confidence or career discovery and classes to teach coding fundamentals in web development, Python or data.

The announcement comes on the heels of recent data from the Office of National Statistics, which highlights that women only make up 17 percent of IT professionals, a trend that has remained stagnant over the past ten years. There is an urgent need to diversity the industry, in order to achieve gender parity.

Speaking about plans, Anna Brailsford, CEO at Code First Girls, said, “We’re thrilled to have been able to deliver on our promise to help 20,000 women learn to code.”

“But we are just getting started.”

“We’re launching a new strategy and urging businesses to help close the gender gap further through investing in female talent that want a career in tech, and create additional possibilities for them.”

“COVID-19 accelerated appetite for coding education, as we saw an unprecedented growth, by 800 percent, in registrations for our virtual classes during lockdown.”

“Coding education is important, now more than ever.”

“Over the last few months, we have been working to help women who have been displaced by COVID-19 redundancies or entering a tough graduate market to reskill and find employment.”

“Our priority has been to help women achieve jobs, at a time of deep economic and social uncertainty.”

Alice Bentinck MBE, co-founder of Code First Girls and Entrepreneur First, added, “Over the last three years, Code First Girls has made huge strides in getting more women in technology through partnering with universities and businesses to run coding, mentorship and upskill programmes.”

“The work the team is doing is fundamental to closing the skills gap and enabling young women to feel empowered to select a wide range of careers available in technology, as well as providing them with the confidence to succeed.”

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