Code First: Girls teaches 10,000 women to code for free in the UK

  • Over the past 5 years, Code First: Girls has delivered £6.75 million+ worth of free tech education across the UK and Ireland

  • Code First: Girls is working with partners from some of the world’s leading employers including OVH, Trainline, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, KKR, and more

  • Amali de Alwis, Code First: Girls CEO, was elected as the 2018 most influential woman in UK IT and received an MBE for services to Women in Technology

Code First: Girls, the multi-award winning social enterprise working with women and companies to increase the proportion of women in tech, announces today that they have now taught 10,000 women to code in-person for free in the UK and Ireland, a new milestone for the tech sector.

In the 18 months since the launch of its 2020 campaign, an initiative aimed at teaching 20,000 young women how to code for free by the end of 2020, the organisation has made strong progress, with Code First: Girls now halfway to this target and on track to achieve its final goal.

The 2020 campaign

Code First: Girls launched their 2020 campaign at the end of 2017 with a clear objective to significantly grow their existing free in-person coding course offer and set a target to teach 20,000 women to code by the end of 2020. As part of this campaign, and with the support of several corporate partners, they have now taught 10,000 women to code for free across 35 cities hosting 297 courses. Thanks to these overwhelming numbers, Code First: Girls is now the leading provider of free in-person coding education to women in the UK and Ireland.

This record result comes at a time of stark underrepresentation for women in the UK’s technology sector. According to the UK Office of National Statistics, in 2018 women made up only 11.6% of software professionals in the UK.

>See also: Computer Programming is Second-Fastest Growing Industry for Women

Allison Krill, head of EMEA global banking and markets technology at Bank of America Merrill Lynch commented: “As a business committed to responsible growth, we recognise that it is essential we equip women with the tools and training they need in order to play an active role in building the digital economy. Our partnership with Code First Girls has flourished since it began in 2014 and it is excellent to see the progress that has been made since the launch of 2020 Campaign. We look forward to seeing more young women thrive and fulfil their potential.”

Landmark achievements

One year after announcing the partnership with Trainline, Clare Gilmartin, company CEO, says: “We’re incredibly proud to support Code First: Girls and it’s fantastic to see them reach this landmark achievement. The 20:20 initiative is an excellent example of how the industry and charity sector can pull together to create a more level playing field in tech. We understand first-hand the benefits a more diverse workforce can bring to any business and are excited to continue to help Code First: Girls achieve great things.”

Jean-Pierre Saad, Managing Director and Head of Technology for the CFG partner KKR: “Code First: Girls is doing fantastic work in encouraging gender diversity in technology, and in particular helping young women achieve their ambitions and play a more important role in the digital economy. We believe their efforts will benefit the UK economy and society more broadly, and we are very pleased to be able to support them in their mission and in hitting their targets as part of the 20:20 campaign.”

Commenting on the partnership, Thomas Wales, Head of Cloud Customer Service – EMEA, as well as CFG Instructor, said: “At OVH we really enjoy partnering with Code First: Girls, in this great initiative. Following the success of this landmark achievement, we hope to see many of the CFG graduates joining our Digital Launch Pad (DLP) startup accelerator programme in the not too distant future.”

Jo Hannaford, Head of the Technology Division for Goldman Sachs in EMEA and Global Head of Quality Assurance Engineering, about the partnership: “We’re thrilled to see the progress Code First: Girls has made towards its goal of increasing the number of women in technology. The scale at which it is now operating is hugely effective. Enabling access to coding for young women is incredibly important to me, both personally and professionally, and I look forward to seeing the impact these young women will have in the future.”

Code First: Girls’ CEO Amali de Alwis was awarded an MBE award for services to women in technology at Buckingham Palace and is one of the leading voices on the topic in the UK. Prior to that, Amali was elected as the 2018 most influential women in UK tech and was also shortlisted in the top 10 most influential BAME tech leaders in the UK by the Financial Times.

>See also: Google joins with Inspiring Girls to support girls in pursuing their dream careers