News / Tech

Opening up access to employment opportunities and growing a diverse tech workforce

By bristol247, Wednesday Oct 23, 2019

Bristol24/7 and Develop Me are working on an exciting new partnership, Code it Forward, which aims to address the challenge of how to open up access to employment opportunities and grow Bristol’s diverse tech workforce.

Our ambition is to transform student access to education by removing the social and economic barriers of entry; allowing low income and/or under-represented individuals to access digital skills training connected to highly paid in-demand tech careers.

This employability program is specifically designed for students who are otherwise unable to afford training, outright or through traditional financing methods.

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We hope to benefit students who are underrepresented in the tech community, specifically students identifying as BAME, but not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, educational background or employment history.


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What is it?

The Code it Forward initiative will provide an opportunity for students to apply to the highly successful Coding Fellowship Bootcamp, training to become a web developer in just 12 weeks with no tuition fees to pay upfront.

The Develop Me Coding Fellowship Bootcamp provides you with the skills you need to secure your first role in tech, with a 98 per cent hire rate upon completion and an average starting salary of £23,000.


Develop Me will invest and support students into their first role in tech by ‘paying it forward.’

Initially creating six Code it Forward places per year training people into long-term careers in the rapidly growing Bristol tech sector. In return, students agree to pay a portion of their income after training and securing a job.

Code it Forward is specifically designed to help open up tech career pathways and support an inclusive and diverse tech workforce for Bristol. The initiative has been designed by Develop Me as a radical yet simple solution in partnership with Bristol24/7 and social enterprise finance partner EdAid.


Bristol is the UK’s second biggest tech cluster after London. It has an estimated 27,000 people doing tech-related jobs, and in 2016 alone there were 226 startups created in Bristol.

However, the demographics of the tech sector have come under scrutiny with most of the major players revealing that their workforces are anything but diverse.

At a time of rapid disruption in our economy, we aim to explore innovative ways to develop a diverse workforce of the future – by investing directly in local talent and to provide opportunities for everyone in society.

As the digital revolution increasingly touches every aspect of our lives, the UK needs a technology workforce that reflects the full diversity of the people who use that technology.

Read some student reviews of Develop Me courses here.

How to apply?

Apply at

If you have any questions, please email

How can you support Code it Forward as a Better Business member?

We are actively looking to partner with organisations in the Better Business network in Bristol and South West.

Examples of ways that you can support:

  • providing junior software/web developer job opportunities
  • sponsoring a student place
  • mentoring / career guidance
  • or providing any other support for people currently underrepresented to start careers in the digital economy

If you can help, please email

This partnership is part of Better Business, Bristol24/7’s initiative to help businesses thrive while creating a positive impact on Bristol and the people who live here.

Main photo courtesy of Tech Spark

Read more: Better Business member profile: Develop Me

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