The Bath-based Institute of Coding (IoC) has announced that it has enrolled over 400,000 learners on its digital skills courses since its launch in 2018. With a massive rise following the start of lockdown, enrolments have increased more than tenfold since the IoC reported 32,000 enrolments earlier this year.
Over 350,000 of the enrolments are on the newly released programmes of online courses created by the IoC and its university partners, and hosted on the leading social learning platform FutureLearn. Course topics include Digital Skills for the Workplace, developed by the University of Leeds, and Essential Creative Technologies, developed by the University of the Arts London and Lancaster University. Many courses from these programmes are free for the duration of 2020 and learners can start them at any time.
Six of the fifteen courses developed by the IoC, FutureLearn and the University of Leeds have been featured in the Department of Education’s recently launched, new online platform called The Skills Toolkit. The Skills Toolkit gives access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help people build up skills, progress in work and boost job prospects. It aims to support and develop people who have been furloughed, people who may need support to find a new job and everyone who would like to keep their mind healthy and busy during time spent at home. After the launch of The Skills Toolkit, there was a significant increase in enrolments on the Digital Skills for the Workplace programme.
Reception of the courses on the FutureLearn platform has been overwhelmingly positive, with most courses averaging 4.8 out of 5 stars and learners praising the informative, easy-to-follow and evidence-based nature of the courses.
Based on the completion of voluntary surveys, the courses are being taken by a wide range of people, with ages ranging from 18 to 65+, and a gender split of 53% men and 45% women. The large proportion of women taking the courses is significant, considering the lack of women in the tech industry as a whole .
Around 13% of learners on the courses identified themselves as actively seeking work, suggesting that the courses are fulfilling their aim of upskilling in digital for better employability. Full time students looking to improve their workplace skills before leaving higher education also make up 19% of learners.
Analysis of the most popular IoC courses on FutureLearn showed that while topics on essential digital skills such as computer programming and social media were favoured, the courses covering the wider range of skills needed by digital specialists such as ‘Communication and Interpersonal Skills at Work’ topped the list consistently. The ‘Collaborative Working in a Remote Team’ also made it to the top five, reflecting the current work from home situation that many workers are now dealing with.
Rachid Hourizi, Director of the IoC, said: “The success of these online courses is not only a testament to a wide desire to gain digital skills, but to the importance of flexible learning. Our goal at the IoC is for a larger and more diverse group of learners to join digital skills education and careers, but this can only happen if we continue to make courses accessible to everyone.”
Justin Cooke, Chief Content and Partnerships Officer at FutureLearn, said: “Appetite for digital and technology skills across the nation is sky high, with at least 82% of online job openings across the UK requiring a good level of digital competency, according to DCMS. This number will only continue to grow, especially in the current climate where digital skills will not only be vital to helping those affected by the pandemic get back into employment, but will also help to reboot the UK economy. That’s why FutureLearn is proud to work with the IoC to deliver a variety of high-quality, accessible courses, which hundreds of thousands of learners have already used to upskill and reskill in some of the most in-demand areas in digital and technology, such as creative AI, computer programming, digital marketing and more.”