Tech pioneer Jacqueline de Rojas to co-chair new Institute of Coding

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President of techUK , has been appointed as the industry co-chair of the Governance Board for the newly established Institute of Coding , which brings together industry and academia in a co-ordinated effort to address the UK’s digital skills gap.

A UK technology pioneer and business advisor, Jacqueline will bring to bear her considerable skills, expertise and profile to help the Institute of Coding reduce the UK’s digital skills shortage and attract more people from underrepresented groups into the digital and technology sectors.

Jacqueline de Rojas said: "I’m delighted to be appointed as co-chair of the Institute of Coding and look forward to working with industry and academia.

"I’m passionate about the digital and tech sectors and diversity and inclusion, and I see a great opportunity through the IoC to make a genuine difference in the UK.

"Operating at the interface between industry and educators sets the Institute apart and offers the chance to address the digital skills shortage in a ground-breaking, collaborative, way. Meeting that skills challenge is crucial to the UK’s future success."

Jacqueline joins Professor Bernie Morley , Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost at the University of Bath, as the co-chair of the Institute. In her role as co-chair, she will set the standards for the institute, offer her insight and advice in its direction and champion the institute in the UK technology and digital sectors.

The Institute of Coding was established in January with £20M from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and more than £20M of matched funding from partners to ensure that employers and learners across the UK can access the skills training they need to compete in the global digital economy.

Bringing together a unique consortium of 25 universities, national and international corporations, SMEs, industry groups, experts in non-traditional learning and professional bodies, the IoC will deliver a range of accredited courses that include top quality computer science teaching alongside the business skills, interpersonal skills and real-world experience required for success in the digital economy.

The Institute will work with outreach and community groups, schools and FE colleges to encourage a larger number of currently underrepresented groups into digital education, in particular seeking to increase the number of women working in the digital sector.

Director of the Institute of Coding, Dr Rachid Hourizi, said:  "I’m incredibly pleased to welcome Jacqueline to the Institute of Coding as co-chair. Her appointment demonstrates the Institute’s commitment to bring industry and academia together to find solutions to the digital skills gap in a way that hasn’t been done before. She is both inspiring and influential in her commitment to promoting and enabling more diverse workforces and is, therefore, the perfect co-chair for this new Institute.

"Jacqueline’s skills, reputation and guidance will be invaluable to the Institute, she has a fantastic track record leading and mentoring companies as they adopt technology that supports their aims. We are delighted that Jacqueline will bring her considerable knowledge to the project and will ensure that engagement with industry is at the heart of what we do."

The existing strong demand for computer science specialists is set to increase dramatically; more than 500,000 people will be needed to fill highly-skilled roles in the digital sector by 2022, three times the number of UK students graduating from Computer Science programmes in the last 10 years.

However the UK faces a digital skills gap, described in the Shadbolt and Wakeham reviews, and acknowledged in the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Within the computing sector, women, people from BME backgrounds, and people returning to work are particularly underrepresented. Women currently represent just four per cent of programmers and software developers.

Jacqueline de Rojas is the President of techUK and the chair of the Digital Leaders board. She sits as a Non-Executive Director on the board of UK technology business Rightmove plc; on the board of Costain plc, a company committed to solving the nation’s infrastructure problems; and she was recently appointed to the board of the online retailer AO World plc. Jacqueline serves on the government’s Digital Economy Council, is a member of the recently announced post-18 education review panel and is a supporter of the University Technical College in Newcastle.

Jacqueline is an advisor to fast moving tech businesses and a business mentor at Bird & Co offering board and executive level coaching, and also advises the board of Accelerate-Her. She is especially delighted to lend her support to the Girlguiding Association for technology transformation.

In 2016 she entered the @Computerweekly Hall of Fame after being voted Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Woman in IT 2015; she was listed on Debretts 2016 500 People of Influence - Digital & Social and named in Europe’s Inspiring Fifty most inspiring female role models for 2017. She was presented with the 2017 Catherine Variety award for Science and Technology and the 2018 Women in Tech Award for Advocate of the Year acknowledging her contribution to diversity.

Jacqueline was awarded a CBE for Services to International Trade in Technology in the Queen’s New Year Honours list 2018.