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Helping teach 20,000 women to code by 2020

As various pieces of research have shown, more diverse workforces deliver better results for organisations and their customers. This is one of the reasons we’re so keen to increase the diversity of our own business, as well as the wider tech sector.

And while one company can’t change an industry on its own, we believe we can make a real difference in a number of ways, including through our corporate social responsibility work. Given we have a team of very talented coders – who are also extremely willing to volunteer their own time – when Code First: Girls contacted us about working together, we jumped at the chance.

Teaching the next generation of web developers

Code First: Girls (CF:G) teaches women aged 18 and over to code, with the aim of having taught 20,000 people by the end of 2020. As a software development business, we’re ideally positioned to play a role in this. That’s why we’re currently running one of CF:G’s web development courses. They provide the syllabus, and we provide the teaching space and tutors to run the eight-week evening class for around 25 students.

Ewa Magiera, Head of Communities at CF:G, takes up the story: “What’s great about having Softwire involved is that they could provide both the teaching space and a team of tutors. And what stood out to us from the start was how much interest there was among Softwire employees to be involved. It means we’ve got an exceptionally high ratio of instructors to students on the Softwire-run course.”

Expanding Code First: Girls’ reach into north London

Moreover, by using our offices in London zone 2, CF:G has been able to offer a course in a completely new location. Magiera explains why this has been so significant: “We’ve just crossed the half-way point in our 2020 campaign, with 10,000 women having completed one of our courses. But to meet our target, we need to be offering them in new locations – not everyone works in central London, or can get there easily. This is why we were looking at some of the outer zones, but had not previously run a course in north London.

“The opportunity to work with Softwire in Kentish Town provided us with the ideal testing ground to see how well-attended a course outside of central London would be.

“We’re pleased to say that it’s been really popular, which is testament to the quality of the venue and teaching. It means we’ll be exploring other potential locations in the outer zones, as we continue our push towards teaching 20,000 women to code.”

You can find out more about Code First: Girls, and sign up to forthcoming courses, on its website.


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