Combating youth unemployment and addressing the needs of young people, specifically 19 to 29 years old that are “Not in Employment, Education or Training” (NEETs), is one of the priorities highest on the European agenda.
The EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms 2014-2021 play a key role in the reduction of social and economic disparities of this target group in Europe and Women4IT is among the leading large scale projects focusing on the NEETs demographic.
With this initiative, we aim to assess the digital skills of 1000 women in 7 countries as well as provide digital skills training and personalised career guidance to minimum 700 of them, based on the need and support of employers. We also aspire to reach 10.000 youth by digital career awareness activities.
One of the added values of the Women4IT project is creating new innovative partnerships for upgrading young women’s digital skills based on the current needs of the labour market from the perspective of employers, stakeholders and young women.
In this interview carried out by Eva Fabry, Director of ECWT with Sean Coyne, Digital Transformation Advisor of Code Institute Ireland, the two organisations share their thinking behind teaming up for preparing NEETs for the future of work in the Working4IT partner countries.
Eva Fabry: Which are the top priority digital skills needed today for the future labour market?
Sean Coyne: The rapid evolution of technology is driving demand for a wide range of digital skills. These include coding and software development skills which are used in the development of digital products, website, apps and games. A strong understanding of technical concepts is needed for hybrid-roles in customer care, technical support and administration roles. Nowadays, there are few roles in existence that do not require a combination of digital skills with a high-level of digital competencies. Importantly, developing digital skills increases employability in high-value roles, offers greater economic stability and enhanced career opportunities for all individuals.
Eva Fabry: What are the most popular online courses Code Institute can offer?
Sean Coyne: Code Institute offers two online courses, the first; The Diploma in Tech Fundamentals (30 Hours) is aimed at those interested in acquiring practical, hands-on digital skills while developing their digital literacy to understand technical tools, concepts and practices.
This is a comprehensive course in technical concepts, agile practices, technical terms and the languages of coding. It gives students an understanding of the terminology, processes, building blocks and frameworks used in developing digital products and the insights to build, brief and lead technical teams with confidence.
The course helps learners to improve their technical literacy and enhance their existing abilities in business, product development, project management, marketing, customer support and other roles. Participants complete this course and gain qualification via an online proctored exam.
Eva Fabry: What makes the software developer courses of Code Institute unique?
Sean Coyne: Code Institute’s software development course is unique for several reasons:
- University Credit Rated by Edinburgh Napier University
- Industry Validated by top technology companies including Accenture, Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Intercom and Salesforce
- Suitable for beginners and those with limited technical knowledge
- Applicants are assessed for suitability with our 5-step coding challenge
- Qualification is accredited at Level 5 on the European Qualifications Framework
- Flexible, online-learning model supported by tutors, mentors and student care
- Project-based assessment providing real industry experience
- Projects form showcase to employers
Active Management of Students to ensure velocity through the course
- Post qualification career support from our Employer Engagement specialist
Eva Fabry: What was the main motivation for Code Institute for partnering with ECWT and the EEA Grants project consortium?
Sean Coyne: Code Institute has a proven record, working with organisations focused on supporting the employment of young people through enhanced digital skills while delivering access to digital skills training.
We’ve partnered with several employers, government organisations and training bodies internationally on initiatives focused on increasing the number of women in tech. These range from seminars and events to training programmes and hackathons.
It is important for us to work with organisations that share our values and vision in areas of diversity and inclusion in the workforce, providing opportunities for advancement, regardless of background and promoting digital-upskilling in communities to attract inward investment and create a sustainable economy locally, nationally and internationally.
Eva Fabry: What do you see as the added value of the type of partnership ECWT and Code Institute are launching with Women4IT partners?
Sean Coyne: The power of these partnerships comes from collaboration. The outreach of ECWT, alongside their supporting organisations combined with the technical training expertise of Code Institute has the potential to drive social change locally and internationally and impact the economic opportunities of individuals and regions.
Opportunities for young women can be significantly enhanced with the relevant digital skill set. This assists in redressing the gender balance in tech roles where women are traditionally under-represented. This, in turn, leads to greater economic stability on an individual, local and regional level.
Eva Fabry: If we meet 3 years from now (Feb 2023), how many young people and women in specific would you like to have trained and retained in the employment market in these 7 countries and beyond?
Sean Coyne: It goes against my instincts to impose limits on what we can do, however, in a three-year framework, I anticipate that through this programme over 500 women could avail of Diploma in Tech Fundamentals training, while more than 250 could avail of the Diploma in Full-Stack Development.
Based on previous cohorts of the Diploma in Full Stack Development which were run with the Irish Education and Training Board, 88% of graduates were in full-time employment within 6 months of graduating. While regional differences may come into play, this diploma offers graduates the opportunity to work in multiple locations or indeed, remotely.