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Crispin Read chats to Alan Raw: BBC Radio Humberside

3 mins read time

By Crispin Read

Our CEO, Crispin Read chats to Alan Raw on BBC Radio Humberside (BBC No Filter show). Plugging the funded digital skills courses in Yorkshire.

Aired: Monday 14 March, 7.40pm, BBC Radio Humberside

Listen here: BBC Radio Humberside: No Filter Show with Alan Raw (Listen from 42.38)

Read the interview here:

Host: Alan Raw, ‘BBC No Filter’ Show
Guest: Crispin Read, CEO, The Coders Guild

Alan: We’re now chatting about a gentleman who has got a very good opportunity for people to get involved in. So good. I'm gonna have a go myself! Crispin Reed is from The Coders Guild. He's the CEO, consultant, trainer and speaker. And he's an advocate of tech education. Now, if you've ever fancied, switching careers, or just getting into a career in things that are technically based, like web development, software development, that kind of thing, then The Coders Guild has an opportunity for you. Welcome , Crispin.

Crispin: Hi, Alan, thanks very much for having me on the show.

Alan: It's great to get you on because I know you've got a lot to offer people. And I know some people who listen to the show are already involved already in doing a lot of stuff with computing and coding. And I know some real enthusiasts are really into it, especially some of the younger ones who I've spoken to involved in the youth centres where they're doing some coding workshops and things. But you've got an opportunity, which crosses quite an age range.

Crispin: Yes, that's right! So we're currently working with the Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership. And I've other partners across Yorkshire to deliver free courses in software development, UX, and software testing, and also one in essential skills for all sorts of tech careers.

Alan: For those who are not familiar with the terminology, UX, user experience, it's everything that somebody would use, maybe on the phone and online.

Crispin: Yes, that's right. Talking about user experience, in particular, is what we've done with all of these courses, is that we have really close relationships to industry. All our trainers are professional people who work in the industry. And what we're doing is asking the people in the industry, what are the key skills that people need to know in order to start a career in the various fields.

So for UX, it's about how you use the interactions that you have with digital products. That doesn't just happen just by someone designing an interface, as in graphically designing an interface, and then someone else building it, there's a lot of research that goes into finding out what users actually need, what they want, what they're going to like.

Once we find that out, we want to test it and make sure that we are building things that users like, because there's a lot of additional skills that go into that, on top of just designing an interface. That's what this course is all about, those additional skills. And they've got employability, ingrained into the courses. So it's not just about having these skills and finding a way to go and find a job. This is about how to actually position yourself in order to start a career like this. So with that employability aspect to it, it’s also about personal branding specifically for those particular careers.

Alan: Now, it's a confusing path to start on, for most people the path of getting into coding and web development, because there's a sea of options, you know, you could just try going on a lot of YouTube videos and having to go yourself, or you could think, well, maybe I'm going to need a degree, so I better go to a better try to get to university, it's quite difficult for people to know what the employer is going to want from them. Unless they've had some kind of experience already. And without any experience, the qualifications don't really get you there, do they?

Crispin: That's right! I think the situation in a lot of the industries that we support like software development and software testing, it’s the self-led learning that is actually a key indicator, if you like, of someone's aptitude for the role.

So if someone has a computer science degree, for example, employers are going to want to see that you mentioned YouTube, they would be as interested in the YouTube videos that they have watched and what they've done with that information as much as they will be in the actual academic qualification.

In most cases, it's much more important to employ what people are doing their own thing especially around development. The skills that people are looking for are around being able to teach themselves something because that's essentially the job in a nutshell. 

I've been a developer since the '90s. So I've done a lot of developing and leading teams and employing people. The things that we're looking for in people is the prospect of being able to learn and teach themselves. But also, in a way, the YouTube tutorials and the side hustles in the bedroom coding are more important than a degree.

Alan: One of the things I like about it as well is that you can pretty much work from a laptop, almost anywhere, can't you? There's not a lot of outlay, when it comes to the tools that you need for doing this. And the flexibility for where you can be based, kind of opens doors to quite a few people around the world and in our area that maybe they didn't think were open to them.

Crispin: Yes. Especially as I think we in the tech world were already kind of ahead of the game before the pandemic came. And, of course, to work from home. Lots of lots of teams are distributed across the UK and around the world. And it's not that people aren't expected to commute, you know, even before lockdowns inhibited that, there was a lot of remote working across the industry. So yeah, you have a laptop, and you're ready to go.

Alan: So they've got a laptop, they want to learn, they know that this is the way forward because they can get some training and experience. And there are a lot of job opportunities out there because there's a bit of a shortage. So what can you do? Because I know you provide stuff for free, what can you provide to people and how do they access it?

Crispin: Okay, so we were in the final part of this particular round of funding. It's really important that we, use up the funding, to be honest. We want to show a need for the sort of training that we're giving. So we've got another week, whereby people go to our website Or they could go find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. There's a link there that takes you to our site where all of the courses are outlined. And you can find a course that is suitable for you.

In terms of what you need, all the courses are delivered remotely. So you do just need an internet connection and a computer. And to sign up, there's a short form on the site. And then that goes through to just to check eligibility as being a funded project. It's not particularly long or arduous. We’re just looking for people who are over 19 years old, either employed self-employed, or even recently unemployed, as long as you have the right to access funding in this country. So permanent residency with the Right to Work is usually enough. But you just can't be undertaking any other form of government funded training at the time. So apprentices unfortunately are not allowed.

Alan: And that's okay. I think that what he does cover is pretty broad. And the fact that it's free, I mean, I know there are costs involved, but those costs are not passed on to the learner. This is a brilliant opportunity. If you just need a laptop, an internet connection and the training is just there waiting for you. You get experience along the way and there's jobs in this field that need filling. This is fantastic!

Crispin: Yeah, it's really easy as well to fit around other commitments if people are doing shift work now or they've got a job right now,  the sessions are just twice a week t and there’s a two hour session with an hour of Q&A afterwards with the people who work in the industry. If you miss a session you can catch up with a video or with additional catch up sessions throughout. You don't have to hit every single session. And as we said earlier, all courses are remote. It's a lot easier to be there on time because you can be anywhere.

Alan: That's Crispin Read, from The Coders Guild, giving us a very nice opportunity. I suggest people get stuck in and take it up. You've only got a week!

The Coders Guild provide funded digital skills bootcamps for people who live and work in Yorkshire across software development, software testing, UX and essential skills for your tech career.

There's still some places left on our bootcamps, apply today! Click on our regional hubpages:

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