Award-winning social enterprise Code First: Girls are an organisation dedicated to working with companies directly to increase the number of women employed in tech. The enterprise has just launched a new, ground-breaking campaign. After securing funding from leading global employers, such as OVH and KHR, the 20k by 2020 campaign aims to teach 20,000 young women to code – for free – by the end of 2020.
The campaign will target young women who at the start of their careers all across the UK and Ireland and teach them how to code. Employees from partner companies will be able to access training support. Free coding courses will also be available to women working at charitable institutions. Partners can choose to gift a course to a young woman.
As well as the initial training, Code First: Girls intends to create a digital platform to enable the 20,000 trainees to support and continue to learn from one another. All the partners of the campaign will then have access to the pool of talent – 20,000 young women who have coding skills and are keen to explore tech and digital career opportunities.
Crowdfunding for the 20K by 2020 campaign
Key partners have contributed the funds necessary to launch the campaign, but in order to achieve all its goals and the programme’s full potential Code First: Girls has opened a crowdfunding campaign which hopes to raise a further £25,000. Members of the public who support the cause of increasing the number of women employed in tech are invited to donate, or even to make a pledge by gifting a course to somebody.
Women’s share of jobs in the UK tech sector stands at just 27% and initiatives such as Code First: Girls’ 20K by 2020 Campaign are key to ending the under-representation of women that currently exists in the sector. Additionally, schemes such as this are a practical way of addressing the skills gap in the jobs market. The number of jobs in the digital tech sector are growing at twice the rate of non-digital sectors.
Digital jobs pay salaries 44% more than the national average but 50% of the country’s digital tech community also report that they experience problems due to a shortage of highly skilled workers. Training more young women is a fantastic place to start to address this gap.
Research shows that one of the biggest barriers preventing young women entering the tech industry is education. Therefore, any campaign focusing on the skills that are so important to the digital economy, such as coding, is obviously a good thing.
In a win-win situation, talented young women will enter the digital and tech workforce, and UK businesses will be supported in filling their talent needs. The campaign will drive better outcomes for both businesses and local communities. Code First: Girls has already taught coding skills to over 5,000 women in three years. The 20k by 2020 campaign sees things being taken to an ambitious next level.