CodeClan unveils new chairperson as former ScotlandIS chief executive Polly Purvis stands down

Scotland’s national digital skills academy has appointed a new chairperson after former tech trade body chief executive Polly Purvis OBE stood down from the role.

Bill Douglas, who brings managing director level experience from the manufacturing and software sectors, both in the UK and internationally – having held leadership positions at companies including RBS, VeriSIM and Zonal Retail Data Systems – steps into the newly vacant post with CodeClan.

Douglas, a communications and electronics engineering graduate from Edinburgh Napier University, originally joined CodeClan’s board in May 2015. Purvis founded CodeClan and has chaired Scotland’s digital skills academy since its inception.

CodeClan CEO Melinda Matthews-Clarkson said: “Polly Purvis is in the very DNA of CodeClan, the team and I have the very highest regard for everything Polly has done to get us to the position we find ourselves in today and we are beyond pleased that we will be able to continue to rely on her wise counsel going forward. In Bill Douglas, we have the perfect person to help guide CodeClan through its next phase of growth.”

Bill Douglas, Chair, CodeClan said: “CodeClan has the very real potential to be front and centre of the advancement of digital skills in Scotland at a time which is both a tipping point for all things digital and challenging economic environment. The dedication to success of our leadership team, our board, our trainers, our students and our graduates is something which makes me very energised about the road ahead and I can’t wait to get started in my new role.”

CodeClan is experiencing a significant increase in demand for its Data Analysis course from its employer network and candidates, which Matthews-Clarkson puts down to Scotland’s growing reputation for data-driven innovation. Matthews-Clarkson added: “When you look at how initiatives like the City Region Deal have led to the scaling up of data infrastructure here in Edinburgh alone, at the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre or Heriot-Watt’s GRID facility, the continuing success of The Data Lab or how global technology group Trustpilot set up its international R&D hub in Scotland this summer, you can see that data-specific roles are only going to increase in the months and years ahead.”

CodeClan has campuses in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, with the CodeClan team and students either back on campus or planning to get back on campus in combination with a remote learning virtual classroom model that was initiated earlier this year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Initially funded by the Scottish Government, CodeClan is now run as a not-for-profit self-funded organisation, working with hundreds of employers across Scotland ranging from startups to global corporates.