Ada launches to tackle digital skills shortage
Deloitte alumnus Tom Fogden describes setting up Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, as part of a drive to address major digital skills shortages in the UK
"I’m the Dean and a co-founder of Ada, the National College for Digital Skills - the first further education college to open in the UK in 23 years. The mission of the college is to design and deliver a specialist education to help students progress into highly-skilled, computing-related roles. Our goal for the college is to help address the major digital skills shortage facing businesses in the UK.
Long before the business plan for Ada was devised two years ago, I had already had experience of the classroom when I was a maths teacher in Hackney as part of the founding cohort of Teach First. I joined Deloitte’s Consulting practice in 2007, working on a variety of technology and education projects and through this experience I gained the fundamental all-round business skills that are so essential in a start-up organisation - finance forecasts, pitching and project management are just some of the many skills that I require on any one day.
We will open to our first cohort of 150 students in September in our sixth form and our Higher Level Apprenticeships, which include a foundation degree in computer science. Within five years, we estimate Ada’s London campus will have educated 5,000 students, and we’re planning a second campus in the North West of England. We want the college to use digital skills as a tool for social mobility and by 2021, 40 per cent of the students will be women, and 50 per cent will have been eligible for free school meals."
From the early stages of the business plan for Ada, Deloitte has been very supportive and has provided the college with a Deloitte Digital secondee for nine months. Kevin Walsh, Deloitte’s global technology leader sits on our board of trustees and is helping us grow important relationships across the firm. It’s a very exciting time for Ada and I’m looking forward to completing the circle and supplying some of the next generation of tech talent.
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