Northcoders offers virtual and class-based coding 'bootcamps', enabling novices to become work-ready software developers in just 13 weeks. The company also helps businesses with a range of hiring and training solutions for their technical staff.
We spoke to Chris Hill, Founder and CEO, about the importance of digital skills in the workplace and how the company's recent stock market listing is helping it to grow.
What does your company do?
Northcoders was formed six years ago with the mission of closing digital skills gaps for companies and creating opportunities for individuals. Ultimately, we train people in technology skills. We pride ourselves on teaching the bleading edge technology stacks. In a traditional educational setting, it can take months if not years for these to find their way onto the curriculum. It takes just 13 weeks for a complete novice to become a junior software developer.
In the last year we have had a lot of funding from the Department of Education on their skills bootcamp initiative, allowing us to offer scholarships to our students. Last year we awarded 294 scholarships, enabling people from all walks of life to afford the course and go into this sort of career. Earlier this year we celebrated our 1,000th graduate of Northcoders.
There are significant opportunities for people with digital skills both in the UK and globally. In the UK alone, there are currently around 550,000 technology job vacancies. Every company now needs to become technology enabled. We have even put software developer apprentices into an egg farm!
Tell us about your UK and global operations.
We started out in Manchester. Now we also have campuses in Leeds, Newcastle and Birmingham. We currently have over 80 full-time employees. That is up from around 34 at the start of 2021 so we are growing rapidly at the moment.
The North is bustling; a lot of companies are moving their tech operations to the North and some big banks are moving their head offices up here too. Post pandemic, people are working from home and that has opened up our market even further as we have businesses in London and the South employing more graduates in the North.
What are the main benefits to being based in the UK?
The UK has allowed Northcoders to explore educational funding from the Department for Educations skills bootcamp initiative. They are very progressive and are certainly thinking about the technical skills that businesses need.
Being listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange has been a great way for us to raise investment into the company. After exploring some different funding routes, the idea of doing an IPO fund raise was brought to our attention. Although this was always an aspiration of ours, we did not initially think of going down this path as we did not realise that it was such an attractive route at our size.
It has enabled us to raise the money that we needed to grow, provide our employees with a transparent and attractive share options scheme, we are in a position to raise more funding if we decide to speed up our expansion and we are also reaping benefits from having the ‘PLC’ title.
Following our listing, we now feel we are in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves in this rapidly growing market. Our listing has also certainly helped with our visibility with corporate customers and in generating interest in our services.
The North is bustling at the minute. A lot of companies are moving their tech operations to the North and some big banks are moving their head offices up here too. Post pandemic, people are working from home and that has opened up our market even further as we have businesses in London and the South employing more graduates in the North.
Being listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange has been a great way for us to raise investment into the company. Following our listing, we now feel we are in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. Our listing has certainly also helped with our visibility with corporate customers and in generating interest in our services.
Tell us about your company's growth ambitions
The IPO in July last year has enabled us to grow on a bigger scale and take advantage of the vast demand for digital skills at the moment.
Our main targets of growth right now are expanding geographically within the UK and expanding our product offerings We plan to open further campuses in Birmingham, Liverpool, and Sheffield in the mid to near future and we are also looking into other tech disciplines.
We like to keep out student tutor ratio quite low to ensure that we are delivering the best quality education we have one tutor to every eight or nine students at present – so, as we grow the number of people that we teach, we will grow our operations and the number of our technical tutors in line.