French tech multinational Capgemini and non-profit CodeYourFuture (CYF) have announced a new three-year partnership to train refugees and those from disadvantaged backgrounds to become software developers and gain employment in the technology industry.
The new partnership, which involves the UK arm of Capgemini, will help around “300 individuals over the next three years develop digital skills as well as the soft skills required to succeed at work.”
Originally launched in 2018, Capgemini was the first corporate partner to provide end-to-end sponsorship of CYF’s 6-month training programme in London. Since then, it has expanded to regions across the UK, with classes offered in London, Birmingham, and Manchester.
Since its launch, 91 students have benefited from the partnership, with 65% continuing into education or employment, including 27 students who now have permanent placements within Capgemini.
Capgemini’s involvement in the partnership is significant. It involves offering access to its offices and networks, hosting homework clubs and immersion workdays, and “offering opportunities for the students to build a project portfolio through participation in hackathons.”
The new partnership will see the syllabus expanded beyond core web development learning “to meet in-demand tech skills,” including training for roles in software engineering and DevOps.
“Capgemini and CYF will continue to evolve the training offered to inspire women and participants from the most vulnerable communities to take up a career in technology,” read a statement on the news.
According to a 2019 report by The UN Refugee Agency, over 130,000 refugees live in the UK, where many lack the digital skills or qualifications to secure employment. Furthermore, over 50% of refugees with formal qualifications remain unemployed for several years after arriving.
Considering the employment gap refugees face in the UK coupled with the country experiencing a digital skills shortage, corporate partnerships can play a significant role in making the tech sector more inclusive while building up a robust talent pipeline to plug the digital skills gap.
Sally Caughey, Head of Digital Inclusion at Capgemini UK, said: “As a business, we’re committed to creating a sustainable and inclusive future. Our Coding Academies are a core part of our approach towards digital inclusion, which aims to bridge the digital divide and ensure that tech provides equal opportunity for everyone.
“Our programme is all the more important now with the rapid digitisation of public services and work throughout the pandemic. From our point of view, this partnership helps address the growing skills gap in our sector, which will have implications for society and our economy, and we know that bringing people together from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences fuels innovation and better results for our organisation and clients.”
Germán Bencci, Founder of CYF, added: “Our ambition with CYF was to increase opportunities for minority groups within the technology sector by breaking down the barriers they face when it comes to employment. This continued partnership with Capgemini has given us a real opportunity to help more disadvantaged people receive the support they need to build their careers within the digital space and help those with interrupted lives, unfinished studies and integration challenges reach their potential”.