Leader Views


Posted on:
11th March, 2021

LEPs uniquely positioned to understand skills requirements of industry

Covid-19 has devastated lives and livelihoods, and how quickly we rebound from it depends on thoughtful and concerted action from government, business, and education. Lee Lindsay, Education Consultant with Code Institute discusses how this challenge united South East LEP, Newcastle College, Gateway Qualification and Code Institute in the publication of a White Paper that roadmaps a collaborative approach.

LEPs uniquely positioned to understand skills requirements of industry

"Job losses will cut deep, especially in retail and hospitality, with thousands of mainly younger workers in need of new career opportunities. Many people are understandably anxious about the future; Covid has compromised their career path and challenged the relevance of their skills.

Business is faced with the dual challenges of accelerating digitisation to maintain viability and reskilling their workforce to enable and keep pace with this transformation. By contrast the tech sector continues to grow rapidly and there are 90k unfilled jobs in this sector every week.

Challenging times indeed.

There is however a common solution to these challenges –– Relevant skills delivered quickly. It was this realisation that brought together Newcastle College, South East LEP, Gateway Qualifications and Code Institute into each other's orbit.

The LEPs are uniquely positioned to understand the skills requirements of industry at a regional and national level, and to influence skills delivery. South East LEP’s Skills Lead, Louise Aitken is acutely aware that Further Education colleges are a key pillar in this delivery, “Colleges are deeply embedded in the local community, so they are key in bridging the digital divide and creating the skilled workforce local employers are looking for.”

Newcastle College, like many Further Education colleges, was in a bind: they recognised the demand for a recognised qualification to skill or re-skill people for employment in tech roles — and do so within a relatively short space of time — but lacked the resources not only to create such a course but to deliver the teaching.

Simultaneously, Code Institute and Gateway Qualifications were developing just such a  qualification –– the Level 5 Diploma in Web Application Development ––  the critical point of difference being that Code Institute provides both the content and support structure of online-tutors, mentors, train-the-trainer and career services. This enables Further Education colleges to partner on the delivery and have graduates entering the  workforce within a year.

From Code Institute’s perspective, graduate employability through job-ready skills are our north-star. The key to this is the delivery which replicates the work environment of software developers and the project based approach. Learning is hands-on in an SaaS environment where learners work through developing and building each phase of an app. This gives their employers or prospective employers proof of their competencies. The litmus test is that 90% of graduates are employed within 6-months of graduating.

For Andrew Nicholson, Head of Digital Technologies at Newcastle College working with an online delivery expert, Code Institute and Gateway Qualifications gave Newcastle College the agility launch quickly, “The ability to get it off the ground now far outweighs the potential advantages of creating a qualification like this under our own steam, as the resources needed and the time frame involved in developing the platform would be very considerable.”

Since launching in December, Newcastle have already onboarded their first cohort of learners with applications for a second cohort about to open shortly. These learners will have graduated and be in employment early 2022.

As the dust settles after Covid-19, and the full scale of its disruption becomes clear, that is likely to be a lot of people.

You can download the White Paper here to read it in full.

For more information visit https://codeinstitute.net/rqf/

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