Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced that a new £40 million Institute of Coding will be set up in the UK to teach digital skills such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
The venture will be launched by a consortium of more than 60 universities, industry experts and businesses, including Microsoft, in a bid to tackle the country’s digital skills gap.
The institute aims to deliver practical digital skills to higher education students and those already in employment via industry-accredited courses at 25 traditional universities across Britain, and education providers such as the Open University, Birkbeck and FutureLearn.
It will be funded via a £20 million investment from the Government, which said digital skills are “essential” to economic growth, and £20 million from the consortium and other industry partners.
Dr Rachid Hourizi, director of the Institute of Coding, said: “The strength of the Institute of Coding lies in the fact that it brings together educators, employers and outreach groups to co-develop digital skills education at undergraduate and masters level for learners in universities, at work and in previously under-supported groups across the country.
“Courses will be made available at undergraduate and masters levels, alongside short courses in areas of strategic importance including data science, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
“In addition, we’ll work with our partners to implement a Widening Participation programme to target underrepresented talent through outreach activities, tailored and inclusive curricula, flexible delivery and removal of barriers to working in the industry.”
Speaking about the firm’s involvement in the Institute of Coding, Ian Fordham, director of Education at Microsoft, said: “Microsoft is delighted to be a key partner in the new Institute of Coding. We are committed to a programme that brings together the best of academia and industry to empower the current and next generation of digital leaders and enable the UK to become a stronger digital-first economy.
“Our free Digital Skills programme is designed to help everyone in the UK by enabling them to develop the skills they need to be successful in the fourth industrial revolution. Our contribution to the Institute draws on this comprehensive offering and our work with the Tech Partnership, educators, apprentices and those at every stage in their careers.
“We are excited to bring our expertise to the partnership which will drive forward innovation and the technologies and skills of tomorrow.”