Finalist category: Digital Skills Award
Digital Skills Award, Finalist, 2018
Teaching refugees to code for a brighter future.
CodeYourFuture is a free 6-month software development programme that teaches refugees the skills they need to become an entry-level developer. It combines in-class training led by experienced developers, alongside remote-learning modules to provide the most comprehensive program possible. Industry insight and advice is woven into the programme, and upon graduation, refugees are supported in their job search to give them the greatest possible chance of entering and succeeding in the field.
There is a significant lack of training opportunities for refugees who arrive in a new country with skills unadapted to their new environment and job market. Experienced and highly-skilled refugees often require retraining and re-certification to gain employment in their field and may not have the digital skills required in even non-technical disciplines.
Learning to code is one of the most effective avenues to skilled employment because of its relatively low time commitment and the high number of job opportunities for developers. Coding is also an effective way to empower refugees, by giving them the opportunity to participate in socially beneficial tech projects.
Technology is what Code Your Future uses, teaches, and promotes. For the student’s final projects, the team usually source software development projects from local charities and NGOs. This way the students are able to work on projects that contribute meaningfully to their professional portfolio and are able to air the technical development of the sector as a whole.
CodeYourFuture serves a crucial role as a bridge between refugee and tech communities and has a natural capacity to inspire both communities through their work.
The tech industry faces significant pressure to address its diversity issues, and for a good reason. As many as 88% of employees are male; with just over 6% being from Middle East, or Black or African descent. All the CodeYourFuture graduates come from BAME groups, and at least 30% are female.
By bridging the gap between refugees and tech community, we can inspire tech community to get meaningfully involved in the ongoing crisis. Through partnerships, CodeYourFuture can give companies an access to a pipeline of talent with a diverse set of backgrounds. Bringing real diversity into the industry that goes beyond one day events.
Furthermore, perspectives and insights of refugee programmers can prove to be invaluable in developing new solutions and platforms that will help to address the refugee crisis. Tech has a capacity to shape the future, and refugee programmers can help to make sure that the future that is being built is conscious of the needs and struggles of the refugees.