Venture launched to train developers, generate jobs and invest in start-ups

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Technology entrepreneur David Richards is launching a Yorkshire venture called “EyUp” to create software developers, generate jobs and invest in start-ups across the North of England.

It will offer opportunities to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or who are under-represented in the tech sector and will launch innovative partnerships with third sector organisations.

  • EyUp Skills will run a 16-week full-time course in partnership with iO Academy, ranked sixth best coding bootcamp in the world.
  • EyUp Jobs will help course graduates to find their ideal roles and provide assurance to employers that candidates have reached an outstanding level of competency.
  • EyUp Ventures will provide start-up capital, investment knowledge and operating experience to new companies in northern England.

Richards said: “Local and global economies are crying out for people with the right skills – latest annual figures show more than 150,000 digital tech job openings in Yorkshire and 4,400 in Sheffield.

“EyUp will teach people to code, help them find jobs as developers, nurture new start-ups and contribute to social and economic wellbeing.

“Education should be the foundation of regeneration and EyUp will help individuals realise their potential and spread success across our communities.

“We want to provide a meaningful alternative to university by offering more hands-on experience in four months than students would typically get in a three-year degree programme.

“As a Yorkshireman who has spent more than two decades living and working in Silicon Valley, I am very proud of my roots and want to celebrate our Yorkshire identity with EyUp.”

Launching in Sheffield in September, EyUp Skills will deliver a course run in partnership with iO Academy to train students aged 18 and above in the most in-demand technologies and methodologies used in software development today.

James Muir, chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Investment in the skills and careers of our people is at the forefront of South Yorkshire’s renewal and growth in the coming years, so I’m incredibly pleased to see the launch of EyUp in Sheffield.

“To ensure our region has the opportunities needed to build a stronger, greener and fairer economy for everyone, we need to invest in our people and businesses, and improving digital skills is integral to this.”

Founded in the South West in 2015, iO Academy was conceived as a way to help connect enthusiastic career-changers with growing tech companies who need new talent.

The course is designed as a fast-track bridge into tech, teaching students everything they need to become great coders.

Learning from professional developers with real-life experience, the students gain practical knowledge in an environment as close to a real tech team as possible, and come away with relevant and up-to-date skills.

iO Academy founder, Chris May, said: “As owner of a tech company myself, I know from experience the challenges companies face in finding new talent. We started iO Academy as a solution to this problem.

“By drawing on the expertise of our own tech team we came up with a practical course that, six years later, has proven that it really works in getting complete newcomers to be industry-ready in a short timeframe.

“We are delighted to be partnering with EyUp to move into Sheffield as our second UK location.”

Applicants are assessed on potential rather than past experience as part of the application process. Course fees can be paid up front or with an interest-free deferred payment arranged through EdAid.

EyUp Skills will offer a hybrid of home and classroom-based learning at Castle House, the Sheffield offices of WANdisco.