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FE Week Recognises UCP for Redefining Access to Careers in STEM for Young Women.

2 November 2023

An article by FE Week celebrating diversifying tech talent recognised the contribution University Centre Peterborough (UCP), part of the Inspire Education Group, is making in redefining access to careers in STEM for young women.

UCP has introduced a new qualification – the Gateway Qualifications Level 5 Diploma in Web Application Development, supported by the Code Institute.

In January 2023, UCP added a new qualification to its mix of Tech courses – the Gateway Qualifications Level 5 Diploma in Web Application Development. The courses, supported by the Code Institute, are more diverse and accessible than traditional computer science programs, and with 29 students now studying successfully after less than a year, the pathway continues to grow in popularity.

Liz Knight, Academic Director for University Centre Peterborough said, “It was about adding something new to our product mix. We recognised that in Peterborough, and up and down the country, there are a lot of people trapped in low-income jobs or women who have taken a career break and want to re-enter the workforce.”

UCP’s dedication to diversifying the tech industry is evident in their student demographics – with around 35% of their students being female which is better than the average in tech. Diversity is core to UCP’s approach to STEM, with the course also being delivered by two female colleagues: Fiona Henry, HE Curriculum Lead for Computing, and Jessica Ikechukwu, Junior Lecturer.

The government is calling for educational institutions to break free from the conventional classroom setup and embrace a more flexible approach. UCP, in collaboration with Code Institute, Gateway Qualifications, and other leading colleges, is leading the charge.

University Centre Peterborough was recently recognised amongst the UK’s top universities with Silver status accreditation by the Teaching and Excellence Framework (TEF). This is testament to the high quality of teaching and student experience offered at UCP, where over 80% of students achieved a 2:1 degree classification or above in 2023.

Peter Wright, HE Manager of Science, Technology and Resources at UCP, shares that, “The course seems to be hitting parts of the workforce that traditional computer science degrees cannot reach – as was our intention.

“The gender balance in UCP’s cohorts is better than the average in tech. At the moment, around 35% of our students are female, and in the next cohort, that percentage is higher, but of course, we want to get closer to that 50:50 split,” he adds.

The Code Institute says, “The courses supported by us are inherently more diverse than the traditional BSc in Computer Science. They are shorter–usually no more than a year–and are taught online, making them accessible to a large number of people excluded by the face-to-face, timetabled model of traditional Further and Higher Education.”

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