Google, Microsoft and IBM join the Institute of Coding’s Industry Advisory Board

A group of students from a wide range of backgrounds taking up digital skills

The Institute of Coding (IoC) has appointed an advisory board comprising senior executives from the UK's largest organisations, and small business representatives.

Executives from Google, Cisco, Microsoft and IBM are among 18 members who will provide direction and insight on wider industry needs to shape the development of digital skills courses which the IoC sponsors.

"The IoC board will enable industry to have a strong voice in the creation of new academic courses and training programmes," said techUK non-executive director Sheila Flavell.

"With UK companies crying out for digitally-adept graduates with high levels of technical proficiency, the board will help communicate specific requirements to ensure the next generation are equipped with the skills they need to thrive in the workplace."

She added the 20 million government-backed digital skills group will gain insight into the needs of the tech industry, which will, in turn, inform its mission to plug the UK's widening digital skills gap.

Other organisations advising the IoC include the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), techUK, FDM Group, Go Compare, AWS, BP Downstream, JP Morgan, Channel 4, Deloitte, Wipro, Shell Downstream, BT Group, Design Council, and HMRC.

This development comes after the IoC launched a 2.3 million scheme in August to fund initiatives geared towards improving access to digital skills, and boosting graduate and employability outcomes.

The Future Projects Fund will see up to ten collectives, comprising at least one university or college with an existing IT or computer science course and an industry partner, benefit from funding to develop their ideas.

"Gaining access to high quality education and training is absolutely critical to tackling the UK's digital skills shortfall," said the IoC's director Dr Rachid Hourizi at the time.

"The IoC's new fund will enable academic institutions and industry organisations to work together, developing cutting edge education to promote digital excellence and improve the technical skills for a new generation of workers.

"This initiative is the latest in a wide array of activity from the IoC to launch new services and spread digital skills across the country."

The Industry Advisory Board, chaired by Flavell, met for the first time in early September, three months on from the IoC's official launch in June.

Its first task was to assess the 2.3 million Future Projects Fund, and provide guidance to potential bidding groups from the point of view of the industry's needs.

The board has decided that promoting diversity and inclusivity must be integral to any successful proposal, alongside initiatives that help individuals and businesses identify routes to degree-level education, and subsequent employment.

The IoC was launched with 20 million of government funding, and 20 million of industry funding, to bring together the tech sector and academia to drive up digital kills across the UK, and lower the barriers of entry for women, ethnic minorities and poorer students.

The consortium is made up from more than 60 organisations and 25 universities, and aims to build and maintain partnerships between universities and businesses.

The IoC also hopes to publish research and analysis that can fuel strategies to raise workplace diversity, and achieve gender equality in the industry.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.