Sidetrade, the global leader in AI-powered Order-to-Cash solutions, has today opened applications for Sidetrade Code Academy 2024 to dismantle barriers for entry into tech and AI careers and address the talent shortage in the UK.

Now heading into its fifth year, Sidetrade Code Academy is an entirely free, four-week course open to anyone in the West Midlands regardless of their technical experience or background. The programme offers full-time AI career opportunities to a selection of graduates who will join Sidetrade’s 300+ strong global workforce from its Birmingham office.

Mark Sheldon, Chief Technology Officer of Sidetrade, commented: It’s a hugely exciting time for the tech and AI sector with fantastic career opportunities on offer.

Historically, the tech industry has been too prescriptive on academic and technical requirements, which in turn has limited opportunities for aspiring individuals. With Sidetrade Code Academy, we are broadening the entry point to tech careers; our mission is to make the tech industry more inclusive, diverse and accessible to all by emphasizing practical skills, hands-on experience, and mentorship over conventional prerequisites. By dismantling the rigid norms of the past, we’re opening doors to untapped talent, propelling the entire industry toward new heights.

Demand for this groundbreaking programme has seen a 617% rise in the number of applications since launch, with over 200 candidates applying for the 2023 programme, including a rising number of female applicants.

Sheldon added: We are delighted that the Sidetrade Code Academy continues to attract a diverse talent pool. At Sidetrade, we are committed to diversity and inclusion to ensure a wide range of perspectives, ideas, and talents, ultimately driving innovation and success on a global scale.

Since launch, Sidetrade Code Academy has received widespread support from the Birmingham business and tech community.

John Cotton, Leader of Birmingham City Council commented: Initiatives like Sidetrade Code Academy have a transformative impact on our community. By breaking down barriers to tech careers, we are not just fostering a new generation of skilled tech professionals in Birmingham, but also championing inclusivity and equal opportunity. This initiative doesn’t just teach code; it unlocks doors to a world of possibilities, ensuring that everyone, irrespective of their background and technical experience, can contribute to and thrive in Birmingham’s dynamic tech community.

Emily Lamidieu, Co-founder of local networking group, Women in Tech Birmingham, said: Traditionally, getting a job in tech has required candidates to have some kind of STEM subjects on their CVs. Unfortunately, current research shows that young girls are still less likely to study these kinds of subjects during their schooling years, making it harder to break into tech later in their adult lives. That’s why initiatives like Sidetrade Code Academy are fantastic for opening the doors to many people who otherwise would never have had the chance to start a career in tech.

Run entirely by members of Sidetrade’s exceptional engineering team, key features of the program include:

  • Free Training: Participants will receive high-quality coding education at no cost, ensuring that financial barriers do not hinder their pursuit of a rewarding career in technology.
  • Hands-On Experience: The programme goes beyond theory, offering practical, hands-on coding experience to prepare apprentices for real-world challenges.
  • Industry-Relevant Curriculum: The curriculum is crafted in collaboration with Sidetrade senior engineers to ensure that participants acquire skills that are directly applicable to today’s tech landscape.
  • Mentorship: Participants have access to seasoned mentors who will provide guidance and support throughout their apprenticeship journey.
  • Job Placement Assistance: Upon successful completion of the program, a selection of participants will receive job offers at Sidetrade to launch their careers in tech.

Interested participants are invited to apply to the programme by Friday 8 December 2023. An assessment day will take place in Birmingham on Friday 5 January 2024, and successful applicants will start the four-week course on Monday 22 January 2024, with one in-person day a week and four days remotely.

Learn more about Sidetrade Code Academy or apply here.