Shaping the digital landscape

Melinda Matthews-Clarkson, CodeClan's CEO

This week at CodeClan we’re celebrating our fourth anniversary. Our CEO, Melinda Matthews-Clarkson, reflects on what we’ve achieved since launching in 2015.

This week saw the 4th anniversary of CodeClan and like a birthday we were very excited to be raising a glass or two with friends, including Minister Kate Forbes, to mark the occasion.

Over 800 people have graduated from our software development and data analysis programmes, with the majority going on to work in technical roles with over 250 employer partners – large corporates, financial institutions, public sector bodies, scale-ups, and startups.


Minister Kate Forbes, Polly Purvis and Melinda Matthews-Clarkson
Minister Kate Forbes, CodeClan Chair Polly Purvis and CodeClan CEO Melinda Matthews-Clarkson celebrate CodeClan’s fourth anniversary.

CodeClan’s raison d’être is to bridge Scotland’s digital skills gap and we know how successfully we advance digital skills in this country will be key to how Scotland competes and prospers in the 21st century. Commentators agree that we don’t know what more than 50 per cent of our jobs will look like in the future, such as the pace of technological change. This means we need to be ready to adapt to tech trends in areas like data science and machine learning.

Industry research tells us that the most successful companies require access to skilled workers and the European Commission has said that there could be almost a quarter of a million unfulfilled jobs in the European ICT sector by 2020. Globally, the World Economic Forum forecasts that there will be over 100 million new roles generated by the Fourth Industrial Revolution by 2022.

In Scotland, it’s important that we keep abreast of global trends and ensure that we are equipping the nation’s people with the tools they need to compete not only at home but on the international stage. In an increasingly data-driven world, we must keep ahead of the curve.

Founded in 2015 with support from the Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies, we have progressed to a self-funding model while retaining our not-for-profit status. CodeClan now has growing campuses in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness. We know the links to the Scottish industry through our employer network – commercial and public sector organisations who hire our talented graduates – are crucial not only to our own success but, more importantly, to the future success of Scotland’s economy.

At a recent Scottish Chambers of Commerce dinner, I was thrilled to hear from John Swinney that the Scottish Government considers CodeClan to be one of its greatest achievements of recent times where the public sector and industry collaborated for the greater good. This week, we look forward to being joined by digital minister Kate Forbes as we celebrate four years in business.

When I joined CodeClan as CEO from IBM in 2017, the nation’s digital skills academy was already making waves by providing a new way to help people reskill and retrain. The last couple of years have seen our team push on and build what I believe is an even better product with a stronger market fit. We have added essential 21st-century meta-skills or soft skills to the programme. Our partners have given us feedback and looking at the most successful companies in today’s market — being able to be problem solvers, open to new ideas, resilient to change and most of all to be able to manage one’s personal health (mind and body) is the key to success in a career and the ecosystem of digital.

CodeClan’s courses include the multi award-winning Professional Software Development (PSD) programme, which trains people from all backgrounds in software development, and a new Data Analysis course which offers immersive training to assist the transition to data-focused careers. We have also created a Full-Stack Web Development course specifically for the Highland campus and tailored to businesses in that region.

In addition, we now offer a range of short and bespoke courses, enabling companies to future-proof their workforce with new in-demand digital skills.

Operating highlights in 2019 for CodeClan have included the opening of the Highlands Campus in Inverness in April, Learning and Wellbeing sessions added to the programme, partnerships with charities and not for profits that need technical assistance, a strategic partnership with technology recruitment specialist Eden Scott to provide career support to CodeClan graduates after 18 months in a job and the strengthening of CodeClan’s leadership and instructor team.

It’s a testament to the whole team, our graduates and our employer partners that we look ahead with even greater optimism on the occasion of our 4th anniversary. Our people, our graduates and our employer partners combine to form a virtuous circle that makes CodeClan work and we’re excited to be delivering real impact on the Scottish digital scene.

An edited version of this article appeared in The Scotsman on Monday 4th November


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