#1250828: UK - Prisoners to learn to code

BRI comment: Would that inrcease the number of hackers, or are these ones not smart enough, because they got caught?
Description: Prisoners will be taught coding to prepare them for work as part of plans to help marginalised groups become skilled in tech.

CODE 4000, an organisation that works with carefully vetted offenders and has led a successful trial at HMP Humber, has been given new funding by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to expand its scheme to HMP Holme House and reach more than a thousand more offenders.

The £100,000 award will also fund a new employment hub in Sheffield, providing support, mentoring and training for graduates once they have left prison, as the organisation looks to achieve its aim of developing a network of coding workshops in UK prisons.

The programme is modelled on the Last Mile project in the San Quentin prison in California which has helped almost 500 offenders with a zero per cent reoffending rate of participants. The national average reoffending rate in the US is 55%.

To tackle reoffending – which costs society around £15 billion a year – the Government has launched the Education and Employment Strategy which aims to create a system where each prisoner is set on a path to employment from the outset.

“Code4000 workshops are reducing re-offending at a measurable rate, because we keep in touch with our graduates,” says HMP Humber Instructor Neil Barnby, “we are constantly seeing success after success. When I started teaching in prisons I thought that if I could change just one life, turn one person away from crime then I have achieved something truly marvellous. I look back on the years that I have been teaching coding in prisons and can see all the lives I have had a part in changing for the better. Not just the ex-offenders but their families and, more importantly their children. It is an enormous sense of achievement and with this funding I look forward to changing even more lives.”

More than £1 million will be used to fund regional and local initiatives to help people from underrepresented groups gain the skills they need for digital roles.

Programmes being funded include those targeted at helping women from disadvantaged backgrounds, people with autism and people living in lower socioeconomic areas. The aim is to help people get the skills to succeed in roles such as data analysts, programmers, software developers and digital marketeers.

The funding will see new training courses, workshops and seminars led by tech experts alongside a mentoring scheme tailored to businesses.

Research reveals only 19% of women make up the tech workforce and are underrepresented in the uptake of digital qualifications. While unemployed adults are 5% more likely to lack the basic digital skills than the national average.

The following Local Enterprise Partnerships will receive a share of the money to invest in their local communities:

West of England Combined Authority Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP working with Sheffield City Region and supported by Leicestershire LEP and Greater Lincolnshire LEP, Lancashire LEP, Heart of the South West LEP.

Local Digital Skills Partnerships (Local DSPs) bring together regional businesses, charities, local authorities and academics to increase the digital skills of individuals and organisations in their region. Three launched last year in Lancashire, Heart of the South West and West Midlands Combined Authority.

Three more Local Digital Skills Partnerships will be set up in the South East; Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; and Cheshire and Warrington. This takes the number of people with access to the programme to more than 10 million, boosting digital and technical skills, job opportunities and productivity across the regions.

Offenders take part in a four-stage programme from initial training to developing the technical skills to qualify as full-time developer and find employment on release. The courses are led by volunteers and industry experts.

Stage 1: is a training phase, and begins with teaching the basics of HMTL, CSS, and Javascript, before moving on to more advanced concepts such as Git, TDD, MVC, databases and full stack development.

Stage 2: allows successful graduates of Stage 1 to then work on real-world projects for external clients, which will also provide a modest income to the project.

Stage 3: will then see them working for clients in the real world on temporary day release.

Stage 4: aims to help them find full time employment as developers.
More info: https://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/business/prisoners-lean-code-2019-03/

Date added March 15, 2019, 8:47 a.m.
Source Electronics Weekly
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