Coding: delivering Jersey’s digital future
This week, I was delighted to speak at the Digital Jersey coding course graduation. As well as the graduating students, there were a number of businesses from Jersey’s growing technology cluster, many of whom are now taking on thoe leaving the course with technology skills that make them stand out in the job market. Whether it’s technology companies developing FinTech and MedTech solutions or those from other industries who are digitising their companies, it’s clear that industry is crying out for digital skills.
The team at Digital Jersey have shown great leadership in providing the course, especially alongside mentors Tom Luce, Matt Chatterley and Rob Dudley who have made the course possible through their time and expertise. Digital Jersey does not exist in a bubble, it rightly relies on the human resources we have on island.
During the evening, we were treated to presentations by the graduates who were showing us what projects they had been working on. Among them were software projects to help keep your keys safe and to manage property assets for a family business. These are not simply nice hobbies to do in your spare time, but are giving islanders real skills that provide real value to businesses and people in Jersey.
I’m delighted that the success of the course has already spread. For next year’s course, we have over four applicants for every place, which shows the demand from islanders. The successful applicants will be able to take part in the course for free, spending two evenings a week in the Hub at Digital Jersey for a six month period, after which they will come out with marketable skills that open doors onto more career options.
Digital is the future of the global economy, with every industry from finance to agriculture set to be transformed into more efficient, more convenient and more human models of working. If Jersey is to benefit from the digital revolution, it requires hard work and that’s why digital skills are at the very centre of our Digital Policy Framework.
We need to focus skills development at all levels on the jobs of the future. Boys, and importantly girls, must be encouraged to get the transferrable skills they receive from STEM subjects as well as being offered the chance to gain computing skills. Schools need to take this duty seriously and should build on their existing relationships with industry to develop a curriculum that gives pupils the skills they need for the jobs of the future. We also need to look at providing higher education in these subjects, tailored to the needs of industry, who must be vocal in shaping our education in technology areas.
On top of this coding course, I’m delighted that the Hub will soon have the resources to deliver new courses to deliver more skills for islanders thanks to a funding request that I will be sponsoring from the Economic Growth Fund. The success of the Coding Course shows that we can deliver excellent digital skills in Jersey, but this must be only the start.
A digital Jersey requires digital skills for everyone, old or young, whether working in digital industries or not, so that the benefits of the digital revolution can be evenly felt. With initiatives like the coding course, we are on track to ensure that all islanders can grasp and benefit from the digital revolution.