Breaking down barriers to digital learning and employment

Newcastle Helix is fast becoming a hub of activity for the Institute of Coding. Bringing together 33 universities and more than 80 employers to create new courses, develop existing skills and attract fresh talent into digital careers, the Institute of Coding aims to meet the huge demand for people with digital skills.

Early in 2018, the Prime Minister announced a £20M scheme to train the next generation of digital specialists. This was to be achieved through a new Institute of Coding, a consortium of universities, businesses and industry experts.

Today the Institute of Coding is a growing family of 33 universities and more than 81 employers across England and Wales.

Next month, Newcastle University will deliver its first contributions to the Institute of Coding.

Based at Newcastle Helix, the Institute will offer two Master’s-level Degree Apprenticeships and a range of CPD courses.

Furthering knowledge of experienced professionals

The Master’s Level Degree Apprenticeships are designed to help experienced professionals further their knowledge in either data analytics or cyber security, allowing them to tackle to challenges of today’s increasingly digital world.

Xander Brouwer, the Institute of Coding’s Partnership Manager explains: “These programmes will do more than simply enhance the skills in your business. Apprenticeships have been shown to improve productivity and drive innovation across the employers who use them to support their staff.”

Both courses run over two years and lead to a MSc in Digital Technology Solutions. There is a common core to both courses including modules on Leadership and Change in the Digital Age, Digital Technology and Innovation Management, and Strategic Case Analysis. There is also a 6-month project undertaken with the employer.

Specialist modules then allow students to specialise in either Advanced Data Analytics or Advanced Cyber Security.

Brouwer identifies further key aspects of the courses: “As well as technical modules and core skills development, our programmes enable people to network, share ideas and best practice with IT professionals from a range of industries and backgrounds. This will help bring fresh ideas and working practices back to their own businesses, supercharging data analytics or cyber security capability and capacity.”

The first four CPD courses are recruiting now. Details are available in the Helix events page.

Critical mass

The Institute of Coding is the latest in a broad spectrum of tech, data and computing activity at Helix.

The National Innovation Centre for Data will move into a new purpose built home - The Catalyst - later this year. Newcastle University’s Business School and School of Computing are well established on site. And The Core is home to a wide range of micros and SMEs working in the tech/smart arena.

There are opportunities too for tech firms to locate at Helix. The Lumen – a Grade A office space - opens later this year and construction of The Spark will begin soon. And of particular interest to firms working in the data/tech space will be the opportunity to co-locate with the National Innovation Centre for Data.

As well as the events the Institute of Coding will host, Helix is fast becoming the venue of choice for conferences, events and hacks with two major events later this month.

DataJam North East is free two-day hack and unconference event for people with an interest in using the power of data and service design in the region for public good. Part of the 2019 #Cyberfest programme will also run at Helix.

Helix was also used by Atom Bank to launch a major new project to explore how to re-gain the public’s trust in digital technology. The project was introduced by world famous philanthropist and tech-fan,

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