CHESTER-BASED digital training specialist Code Nation backed National Apprentice Week with a vow to help more Cheshire residents into tech careers, with a quarter of its first class securing apprenticeships just six weeks after launch.

Having only opened its Chester school in January, Code Nation has assisted four out of its 16 Chester Master Course students in securing apprenticeships within some of the UK’s most recognised businesses.

Pledgers of the school include AO.com, BAE Systems, N Brown Group PLC and Moneysupermarket Group.

The remaining 12 students will benefit from the school’s 90 per cent employment rate in non-apprentice, junior developer roles. The school aims to transform the lives of 50 further Cheshire residents by 2020, through the addition of new classrooms and three-month courses at its new school.

This initiative is further fuelled by shocking survey stats, commissioned by Code Nation, which revealed 86 per cent of respondents thought apprenticeships were only for school leavers, while 65 per cent believed that apprentice salaries were below the national minimum wage and a staggering 90 per cent wrongly assumed apprenticeships took more than three years to complete.

Andy Lord, CEO at Code Nation, said: “These statistics further demonstrate just how misunderstood apprenticeships are.

"Here at Code Nation, we have apprentices aged from 17 to 49, who are earning between £18k and £25k, which is a stark contrast to what these stats have revealed.

"Plus, our coding apprenticeships take just 15 months to complete, not three years - this includes three months of intense training and 12 months of mentorship, whilst in full-time work.

“Apprenticeships are a highly effective way for businesses to get fresh, and skilled, talent that is tailored to the needs of their business in just three months. There’s currently £1.3m sat unused in the Apprentice Levy pot, which companies can access to address this growing problem, yet it hasn’t been properly utilised.

“The UK is facing a digital skills crisis, as we need to train over one million digital professionals in just three years, according to government figures.

"With the uncertainty of Brexit, and the fact that technology is evolving at a phenomenal rate, it’s important that companies prepare for the future by investing in their workforce to develop homegrown tech talent. Something that we’ve previously relied heavily on the European Union to provide.”

Headquartered at The Vault, Boughton, Code Nation is supported by over 40 businesses so far, which have pledged to interview students when they’re looking to hire junior developers.

Apprentice developer at Vivio and Code Nation student Elishka Worthington, 17, said: “I went to college at first, but after three months I decided it just wasn’t for me and started to look at other options.

"I didn’t know anything about coding before enrolling at Code Nation but, after completing the three-week develop course, I knew that this is what I wanted to do.

“I was actually offered an apprenticeship with Vivio just a couple of weeks into the course! Now, I’m back at the school completing the Master course, thanks to my new employer, and I’m very excited to get stuck into some live projects.

"I’m confident that the apprentice route is more suited to me and I’m really glad that I made this decision.”

The school provides courses in coding and cyber security and teaches students not only digital skills, but also gives industry insight by tailoring its courses with live projects in collaboration with potential employers.

This exposure to the professional world is further enhanced by the school’s focus on student wellbeing, including self-awareness, teamwork and mindfulness.

  • Anyone interested in learning more about the school can do so by visiting www.wearecodenation.com, emailing info@wearecodenation.com or by calling 0333 050 4570.