Mention Code in Sheffield and a certain demographic will think of the iconic nightclub in the heart of the city. Others will be delighted that the University of Sheffield is part of a £20 million Institute of Coding initiative that was recently announced by Prime Minister…

Alongside sixty other universities and businesses across the UK, the University of Sheffield is a founding member of a consortium that aims to address the country’s skills gap.

As part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, Prime Minister Theresa May used the World Economic Forum in Davos to outline how she hopes the focus on digital skills will equip people of all ages to tackle working challenges of the future.

There are some big-hitters backing the initiative, including Microsoft, IBM, BT, Cisco and many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Epitomy Solutions represents the latter category, SMEs, and has already embraced new methods of learning by supporting the degree-level apprenticeship programme in conjunction with Hallam Sheffield University.

The Institute of Coding will hopefully take things to a new level. Collaborations between front-line businesses and academic institutions will focus training methods and course content to deliver what UK industry needs to keep the country ahead in the digital race.

Epitomy Solutions already offers a range of cloud-based data management solutions to manufacturers of complex parts. As UK manufacturing embraces the digital transformation, employing the talent to deliver the technical solutions will be the key to success.

Andrew Vernon, Epitomy MD, said: “New digital technologies are having an increasingly pronounced effect across a wide range of sectors, and our customers in manufacturing and distribution are no exception.

“Sheffield has a strong and vibrant development community, and it’s heartening to see a combined effort from business, government, and academia to develop these skills in the next generation to enter the workforce.”

There’s been a largely positive response to what the Institute of Coding sets out to achieve. It’s certainly another step in the right direction.

The desire to co-develop the right digital skills education packages will open doors to more students who otherwise might have encountered barriers that made working in truly digital environments.

An exciting future beckons for the Sheffield region, with the supply of programmers and analysts sure to grow over the coming years as the drive to teach much-needed skills intensifies.

Code the nightclub isn’t part of the IoC, but should also benefit as increased student numbers let off steam and fuel the city’s night time scene. A booming economy is good to everyone.