We’re thrilled that Code First Girls has been shortlisted for the UK Tech Business Awards. It gives us an amazing opportunity and platform to showcase the work we’re doing to close the gender skills gap in the tech industry, fix the existing model of coding education and become the world’s first EdTech unicorn dedicated to women.
Currently, women make up less than 17% of tech industry candidates, while black women make up less than 3%. Financial barriers to entry, and the failure to provide learners with the flexibility and autonomy they need, has resulted in coding providers and the national education system failing to encourage women and people from diverse backgrounds into the tech industry at scale.
To overcome this challenge, CFG’s pioneering model provides coding education to women that is free, virtual and accessible. Those taking our courses are able to fit them flexibly around their lives – removing barriers for individuals in full-time education, work, or those with caring responsibilities.
Our model is working. To date, CFG has taught more than 70,00 women and non-binary candidates how to code for free through our Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Classes or CFGdegrees and +Masters courses. Between April 2021 and June 2022, we delivered over 60 open online courses, covering over 45 topics for those wanting to either begin or progress their careers in tech.
It’s not only our community of learners that benefits from our work, but businesses too. Through our partnerships, we’re able to link amazing female and non-binary talent with companies around the world. We do this by matching candidates throughout the educational process with the company best suited to their ambitions and goals using data and insights, to ensure the best fit between employers and our community.
For example, in 2021, we partnered with NatWest through the software and data streams of the CFGdegree, to enable the bank to sponsor the coding education of 2,007 women. CFG gave Natwest the chance to provide targeted eight-week training to hundreds of high-potential candidates, introducing them to concepts and applications of software development and data science.
All of the CFG candidates passed the course with merit or distinction and NatWest offered 32 women a permanent position at the bank across its retail banking, data, and infrastructure divisions.
With 93% of these Natwest candidates having studied a non-computer science degree at university, it’s clear that girls with huge potential and interest in tech are just not being encouraged into STEM early in their education. Our partnership with NatWest demonstrates that CFG is helping to rectify this issue.
What’s more, all of the successful candidates were career switchers, and the vast majority (70%) were the first in their generation to attend university. This highlights that CFG isn’t just tackling gender inequalities, but economic and regional ones too.
Overall, we estimate that we’ll put 25,747 women through our CFGdegree and place them in tech roles over the next five years. With a starting salary of £40,000, this equates to over £1 billion in economic opportunities for women entering into the tech industry.
With the tech industry being key to the UK’s economic competitiveness, innovation, and national infrastructure and security, it needs to draw on the widest possible range of voices, to ensure that the sector is as strong as it can be. We’re working to deliver that diversity, and tear down the barriers that are keeping women from the opportunities the tech industry provides.
We’re delighted to be shortlisted for the UK Tech Business Awards, and hope that this recognition is the next step in acknowledging what those from minority groups can add to our booming tech industry – and how CFG can help get them there.