Digital skills courses on offer to help win the war for talent

Government-funded digital skills courses are being offered by a training firm with a social mission based in both Leeds and Manchester.

The Coders Guild delivers digital skills training and apprenticeships in technical and vocational areas.

It aims to increase diversity, inclusivity and equality in the tech industry. Its training is provided by people who work in the industry and is designed to be as close to the world of work as possible.

Crispin Read, founder and director of the Coders Guild, explained: “It’s not enough to just train thousands of people in how to code. Coding is just 10% of the job of being a developer and other core skills are needed, which takes time and experience.

“A boot camp is not enough, we need to make sure progression is possible for people’s entire careers.

“We’re running a number of courses across Yorkshire and Humber and Greater Manchester. These include courses in digital project management, user experience, software development, software testing and essential skills for anyone in an agile or digital role.

“The Government are funding us to run the courses and we’re now accepting applicants. We plan to have one course starting every two or three months and most of the courses last 12 weeks.

“The courses in Manchester are for people in work who are looking to change their careers or upskill in their existing career.

“In Yorkshire & Humber the courses are for people who are unemployed or are returning to work.”

Read said from his anecdotal experience, he understood the widely publicised tech skills shortage has been at the same level of severity for about 10 years.

“Partly because of the pandemic I don’t think we’re fully aware of where the pinch points are, but it is less easy for us hire from overseas now,” he said,

“There is more work we need to do, and we’ve got to recruit from a smaller pool.

“But a lot of tech jobs are now easily achievable remotely. You can have someone with an office in the North East who is recruiting people based in the South West.”

Commenting on barriers in the path of encouraging more people into the tech industry, he said many individuals still believe this line of work is only for a certain type of person or think it can’t be for them because they don’t have a STEM subject degree.

Read said: “There are some companies which are quite insistent on their staff not just having a degree but a degree from a certain sort of university.

“But we are now seeing more of the bigger firms setting up different routes into the industry and giving people extra opportunities to to get in.”

He suggested the Government could help the tech industry by taking steps to help SMEs train their staff.

“If you have a five-day funded tech course, a big firm can afford to have someone out of the office for five days to attend it – but an SME can’t,” he said. “That’s why SMEs need more opportunities to be able to progress their staff.

“For SMEs with about 10 to 40 staff, losing just a couple of those employees can be really disruptive.

“Owners of these businesses fear they will train people who will then take their skills elsewhere. But the reverse is true, because staff will want to stay with companies when they are progressing.”

For more details about the courses the Coders Guild is offering, visit: