A free skills school in Birmingham which helps people start new careers in software coding is expanding across the country.
School of Code was founded by University of Birmingham graduate Chris Meah in 2015 after he felt there was a lack of diversity among people trying to get jobs in the tech sector.
Having run several successful schools at its base in Digbeth and online during lockdown, it has now secured fresh funding to roll out the initiative in the North West, East Midlands, South East and London.
The 16-week bootcamps will launch in the four new regions in November and are being run in partnership with the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Plan for Jobs.
They are open to people aged 18 or over and welcome applications from people from all backgrounds, with probation officers, stay-at-home mums and refugees among those who have previously taken a course in Birmingham.
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School of Code works with local employers which pay a pledge when they hire someone from the course, with household names such as The Economist, Bravissimo, Santander and Gymshark among those to have taken on students.
Despite the effects of the pandemic, 62 people have completed its bootcamps during 2021 so far with almost 200 places available over the coming months.
Mr Meah, who was recently named on BusinessLive’s 35 Under 35 listing, said: “Technology will be the engine of recovery for the country but we need to make sure everyone is on board to benefit.
“We are free and open to everyone to remove barriers for people.
“Our mission is to help more and different types of people take advantage of the opportunities technology gives and to future proof their skills and career.
“Money shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing life-changing educational opportunities.”
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street added: “In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, sadly many people are going to fall out of work but re-training or improving your current skills is a great way of finding employment again quickly.
“The bootcamp in software development being offered by School of Code will help many do exactly that.”