Students affected by closure of CodeClan will be able to complete courses, says Mark Logan
Scotland’s chief entrepreneur Mark Logan has confirmed that students affected by the sudden closure of CodeClan last week will be able to continue their courses.
Around 80 students enrolled at the digital skills academy will now be able to finish their studies after a rescue package was put together by the Scottish Government and Codebase.
Officials have committed to provide “full funding” to allow the Edinburgh-based organisation to fulfil its obligations to its current crop of students, across a range of courses.
Beyond that, it is not currently known what the future will hold for the organisation – described as a “strategic asset” by Logan, but he hopes a sustainable delivery model can be found.
He said: “We wanted to get this message out as soon as we possibly could, first of all, just so that students could could see this was happening, and we can follow-up with them, but also because we’re anxious to ensure we reach all the trainers affected by the closure to establish whether they are willing to carry on. Of course we fully appreciate some may not want to.”
In a LinkedIn post, Logan, a computing science professor at the University of Glasgow, expressed his “deepest sympathy” with staff and students alike and thanked the various organisations and individuals who came forward to offer their help.
CodeClan put out a statement last Friday to say it was ceasing to trade with immediate effect and had called in liquidators.
Student Stuart Ure subsequently led a crowdfund campaign to raise the funds to allow trainers to continue to be paid for the delivery of the courses. It is unclear what will happen to the money raised – £22,000 – at this stage.
Ure said: “Mark was kind enough to call me in advance of releasing his statement to talk me through the offering. It is of course a welcome statement in many ways.
“Former CodeClan staff and students will be waiting to see how this offer materialises and how things progress in the coming days.
“In the meantime we continue to be so grateful for your support and we will keep you in the loop as things progress.”
Logan says it was his understanding despite CodeClan apparently making attempts to secure support from government, it was not able to financially support a loss-making private business.
In this intervention, he stressed, the financial support is being made on the basis of allowing support to be given to students affected by a business failure. He said he had personally witnessed “strenuous efforts” to try and find a way to support CodeClan before it closed.
He said: “So, it’s not my area of expertise exactly how these categories are defined but my understanding is that that’s a very different scenario.
“In a different world, I would love to see that, that in a situation like this we don’t end up in a liquidation. But first and foremost, the private entity operating that service has to pitch on a sustainable commercial footing.”
He confirmed that Codebase – which operates out of the same building in Edinburgh and operates Scotland’s Techscaler startup support network – will acquire CodeClan training materials and other assets from the liquidator.
As to whether it will be able to find the sustainable delivery model, Logan said: “I would expect that they will like to look at how they can reestablish service of this type. I’m very sure that it’s possible to build a sustainable commercial model, however.”
He added: “My view of its strategic importance remains the same. It matters because it was essentially an additional talent supply into the tech ecosystem. You’re taking people from other industries, other domains, in some cases domains that are distressed in our economy and bringing them into the tech economy. And I think that’s very, very important.”
On the failings of CodeClan, in particular, to finance its operations, Logan said that client companies had taken fewer graduates than before, leading to a fall in revenues.
But whether that was related to a training quality issue or wider economic uncertainty among hirers, he said: “It could have been a function of current economic conditions, or changing customer requirements, or other causes. This is something that we’ll examine carefully as we go forward.”
Logan paid tribute to Stephen Coleman and Steven Drost of Codebase/Techscaler, Economy Minister Neil Gray and his team of officials in the Scottish Government, and Alistair Forbes of Scottish Tech Army for “their involvement in putting this plan together in necessarily short timescales.”
He added: “In this regard it has been very heartening to see such a strong response from across Scotland’s business community to the situation.
“Given the overwhelming response from our collective community in offering support to people affected by CodeClan’s closure, I have no doubt that we’ll succeed.”