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Why we’ll never force our students to study full-time

Making opportunities available to everyone who wants to retrain in the coding sector needs to amount to more than diversity payments or discounts. There are very good reasons why I founded this business with part-time learning at the heart of what we do.

We all know the idea that often repeated about changing or progressing in your career. We’re told if you want to get to where you want to be, you need to make sacrifices – whether that’s time, money or in other areas of your life. 

That’s all very well up to a point I suppose, but these days – when we’re still not out of the economic storm of a global pandemic – who can literally afford to think like that about their own future? 

Household budgets are often incredibly tight, with rising rents and essential bills, low-paid work and job insecurity is just as high. Giving up your job just to study coding on a full-time basis, even if you’re pretty sure you’ll get a relevant job at the end of it, isn’t for the faint-hearted.

I know there’s a lot of talent out there that could really benefit from joining such a thriving sector would really help to plug the digital skills this country has. Everyone in the coding industry really needs to support this talent and encourage people who want to join the sector to make that leap.

Retraining could be the answer for them. But when you look at most options out there, there’s a massive hurdle to get over – committing to a course that demands full-time hours, which means giving up your source of income, not to mention the prospect of getting into debt to fund your studies.

I know through my own experience that making that kind of commitment isn’t easy for prospective vocational course students. Not everyone gets an easy leg up when they start out.

When I decided I wanted to gain a degree, I couldn’t afford to quit my job to study full-time, so I got my BSc qualification through an evening course, which meant I could carry on getting a wage and study in my own time – even doing this, I still had to find the best part of £7,500 for my course fees.

I’ve never forgotten this – how much difference it made to my life and work prospects. 

That’s why when I set up The Developer Academy I built this principle into our company values – that our students will always have the flexibility of being able to fit their studies around their work and lives. Instead of offering diversity discounts like some of our competitors, we offer at least one free place on each of our Software Developer and Data Science courses to someone who may find themselves otherwise disadvantaged. We think it’s a fairer way to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk about embracing diversity.

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