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From today, Sidetrade is open for applications for its annual Code Academy – a free four-week training course open to all adults in the Greater Birmingham area, regardless of prior technical training or experience, with full time employment positions up for grabs at completion.

First piloted in 2018, Sidetrade’s Code Academy has seen over 80 applicants to the programme since its inception, with 40 accepted on to the intensive month-long programme and eight offered a full-time job after graduation of the course.

The course is designed for adults with minimal to zero tech expertise to provide them with the opportunity not only to learn to code, but to gain valuable experience of the world of work, and insight into how a fast growth fintech business operates. The curriculum focuses heavily on offering hands on experience, in addition to theoretical training.

Mark Sheldon, Chief Technology Officer of Sidetrade commented: We are delighted to get Code Academy back up and running in 2021. We have had some fantastic candidates come through the programme since we first launched in 2018, and the majority of those that went on to be recruited at Sidetrade are still with us, demonstrating the strength of the programme and the calibre of individuals we receive interest from. I am excited to see what fresh talent this year will bring.

Previous Code Academy graduates reflected on their experience of the programme and subsequent career development:

Natasha Rollason, QA Engineer at Sidetrade and 2019 Code Academy graduate: My experience of coding prior to going through Sidetrade’s Code Academy was minimal. At the time I was working in a retail job and wanted to try something new. The Code Academy didn’t just teach me coding skills, it gave me valuable insight into the working world, collaboration with teams, and so much more. I have benefitted so much from my career here at Sidetrade, none of which would have been possible without Code Academy.

Kieran Raine, Application Engineer at Sidetrade and 2018 Code Academy graduate: The Code Academy was a real game-changer for me. Before I joined, I was selling Hi-Fi gear at a small indie shop, with no real career prospects, but Sidetrade gave me the opportunity to fix that. Now, after more than two years here, I’m a full-stack developer working alongside some great people and helping drive our solution to be the best on the market.

The re-launch of Code Academy comes as the UK focuses on its economic recovery out of the pandemic, with digital skills cited as a vital contributor to getting the nation back on track. However, the UK is currently grappling with an all-time high of digital skills shortages, including coding skills.

Mark Sheldon, Chief Technology Officer of Sidetrade added: One of the biggest challenges in the tech industry is not the shortage of skillsets readily available for open roles, but rather the common misconception that to get into a career in tech, you need to have all the technical and academic training under your belt already. This is simply not the case. Gone are the days that you need a university degree to get into technology or years of experience, in fact, some of the best talent that we have hired here at Sidetrade in the past have come through non-university routes.
The Code Academy was set up to send the message to anyone of any background that with the right attitude and desire to learn, a career in tech is entirely possible, even if you’re starting from scratch.

Applications are now open, with an intensive assessment day taking place in mid-August at Sidetrade’s Birmingham Tech Hub in the City Centre. For further information and to apply please visit here.