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Sponsor interview: Gillian Carmichael, CodeClan

Can you tell us a little about CodeClan and your role there?

There’s an estimated 11,000 jobs up for grabs in Scotland’s growing tech industry each year and not enough people with the skills to fill these roles. CodeClan is Scotland’s first, accredited, digital skills academy established in September 2015 with funding from the Scottish Government and support from Skills Development Scotland, SQA and ScotlandIS. We’re here to help train up a new generation of digital talent to help fix this shortage. We’ve hired some fantastic instructors with a background in software development to run our immersive 16-week and shorter web and software development courses. Plus we’ve teamed up with over 70 employers across Scotland to help shape our curriculum and hire our graduates. I look after the marketing of CodeClan- which I absolutely love. It’s rewarding to promote something that makes such a positive contribution to people’s lives and careers.

What makes an ideal CodeClan student?

Someone who is creative, has a passion for digital, and the tenacity to learn a new skill! We like to think that CodeClan is a pretty inclusive place and we see all sorts of people entering the classroom, from novice coders looking to make a career change into digital to upskillers or business owners wanting to get to grips with the fundamentals of programming and web development.

Can you explain what to expect from a CodeClan course?

Our courses offer deep immersion into coding and creative problem-solving in an intensive learning environment, wrapped up in a hugely supportive and encouraging atmosphere filled with great people. Our 16-week course is a rollercoaster for your emotions. One day up, when you have an epiphany about JavaScript callbacks and all your tests pass; next day down, thinking you have a big project to present to your classmates and future employers. You can expect to become close to your fellow classmates, sharing a unique experience for 16 weeks. You’ll make friends for life. Come in with a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset and it’ll change your life. Our part-time evening courses are designed with working people in mind. Not everyone can afford the time off work to complete our 16-week course so we’ve created a suite of shorter courses that offer an equally immersive experience over a convenient period of time. This is also perfect for freelancers or business owners who want to learn a new skill without compromising client work.

Why is it important to support the Creative Edinburgh Awards and the city’s creative network?

CodeClan and Creative Edinburgh share similar values around community and collaboration. Networks like Creative Edinburgh open up opportunities for freelancers and small business owners to flourish, share stories and deepen their creative skill sets through interaction with other like-minded and talented people. There’s a lot of similarity between CodeClan and Creative Edinburgh in supporting people to achieve their potential.

What does next year look like for CodeClan?

Opening in Glasgow. Searching for opportunities to teach up North. New courses. Expanding our horizons. And then celebrating having put close to 300 graduates into jobs over two years!

If CodeClan could be nominated for any award, real or imaginary, what would it be and why?

The “Life is Short, do Something that Matters to You” award. This pretty much sums up the attitude at CodeClan. It can be pretty daunting making a career change or learning something new in such a short space of time, however it is possible if you put your mind to it and we’ve seen plenty of people throw themselves into our courses and come out the other side with a whole new lease of life.

For further information, head to CodeClan's website, Twitter or Facebook.

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