Founders and Coders is a non-profit organisation based in Finsbury Park, providing training in web development for those looking to find an ‘in’ to the thriving industry. The company have been helping a new generation find employment across the Levant in Gaza City, the West Bank and Nazareth. Late last month, they were at the Centre for Business, Arts and Technology in Islington.
Students took turns presenting ongoing projects to develop applications that would facilitate life in the city. One proposed a map application that would provide directions for building interiors, starting with the centre and looking to slowly expand. A representative said:
“The original idea came from bins. It was about recycling. We wanted to create an application so that if somebody was looking to throw something away, it would be easier. This eventually became CANDI Maps.”
Another sought to give bus users information on how crowded a bus was, providing alternative routes for people in wheelchairs or with buggies. Students had also create applications to help share coursework notes, and a to-do list programme.
At the end of the presentation, Founders and Coders Executive Director Dan Sofer gave feedback on the students’ work, highlighting impressive pieces of coding and urging learners to stop and understand the inner workings of their programmes as they tried out new things. The environment was supportive, and students were keen to learn from one another’s efforts.
“We cover everything at Founders and Coders – HTML, CSS, Java Script,” Dan told us after the presentation. “Our students learn on the job; they teach themselves. When you’ve been through the programme you expect to come back and mentor somebody else. The training leads to interviews with employers, which keeps us going.
“Working with City and Islington College came about after a conversation with the principal, who pointed me towards Karen Sudene, Curriculum Leader for Digital Technologies.”
Working with college students was a new venture for the organisation, but Dan was happy with their progress, suggesting they come back and get in touch upon completion of their studies. Another route to be explored was an apprenticeship, becoming an ever more popular option for Further Education.
“Slowly, we may end up looking towards an apprenticeship. We have a lot of employers, some of which are subject to the Apprenticeship Levy. I think we’re overdue a conversation to say: ‘would you like to do an apprenticeship with us?’”
Dan left with a message of encouragement for the students, telling them to keep up the hard work and to get in touch later on down the line.