Scotland’s national digital skills academy has partnered with a Glasgow-based apprenticeship provider to equip more young people with the skills and confidence to move into tech jobs.

Edinburgh-headquartered CodeClan and tigers will co-deliver an education and mentorship programme which will see participants develop their computer programming skills and personal development.

The eight-week scheme, which is aimed at 16-24 year-olds in Glasgow, is underpinned by a wellbeing programme, enabling young people to secure Modern Apprenticeships in IT and software development on completion.  

With the number of school students studying computing science at an all-time low – latest statistics reveal that 9,873 pupils took the subject in 2020, with girls totalling just 1,895 – the collaboration aims to bridge the digital skills gap by providing more young people with “essential” coding skills, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. 

Melinda Matthews-Clarkson, chief executive of CodeClan, said: “Historically, CodeClan has worked to bridge Scotland’s digitals skills gap by re-skilling career changers, and we’re excited to expand our reach and work with young people in collaboration with tigers, to equip them with the skills needed to work in Scotland’s fast-growing technology sector.” 

She added: “We know it’s a critical time for our digital economy, there has been a lot of collective talk but now we need to execute. It’s so important, because it’s about equipping the future workforce and developing a competitive future economy in Scotland.  If we don’t act now, we do so at our own peril.” 

Following completion, young people will be able to move into a Modern Apprenticeship with partner employers, with the opportunity to continue their development supported by tigers’ trained assessors and CodeClan’s digital skills courses.

The programme is funded through the ’employability fund’ managed by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) on behalf of the Scottish Government. 

Eligibility criteria dictates that applicants are not currently in education or employment.  

Jeremy Miles, director of operations at tigers, said: “This is a really exciting collaboration for tigers as we look to build on our success with supporting young people into tech roles through Modern Apprenticeships by working with an exceptional training provider.

“We are also very keen to work closely with CodeClan to tackle the gender imbalance that exists in the tech sector.

“We believe our whole person approach to education, combining the wellbeing of our learners with a vocational, employer led focus steeped in innovative practice will really compliment the CodeClan approach.

“We are deeply aligned in our desire to support young people into sustainable employment and look forward to seeing where we can go together.”

CodeClan is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2015 that has supported more than 2,000 people in gaining skills to transform their careers, working with more than 320 industry partners across Scotland’s commercial and public sectors. 

Tigers launched in the east end of Glasgow in 2001, with the aim to create opportunities for young people who had disengaged with education and were facing social and personal barriers to accessing employment.