A Chat with Lucia Gore, Founder at Leading Residential Coding Summer School: Kozi

Kozi is a 5 day residential course that offers an introduction to coding and UX design in a fun and friendly environment. Coding is a great differentiating skill to have going into any industry and can help students to stand out from the competition in interviews. We partner with major brands who place great importance on their technology, to offer internships to our students, given the skills they have learnt. Kozi teaches JavaScript, HTML & CSS, and UX Design principles and techniques. We aim to inspire young creatives to embrace the opportunities in technology and give them the means and inspiration to further their knowledge.

There are two age intakes, 15-17-year-olds and 18-22-year-olds. No prior knowledge is required, our syllabus is designed for beginners but is entirely flexible and our expert coaches have plenty of extension material for those looking to expand on previous experience.

This course is not just for people who would like to learn to code for their careers, but for anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of the subject, in any capacity. This course can help our students hold their own in conversations and in the workplace with regards to the technical side of a business. There are no stupid questions, and students are encouraged to support one another and work together to achieve the week’s tasks.

What really separates us from other courses is the environment in which students learn. Kozi takes place in a converted barn property outside Stamford, an hour’s train from London. The countryside is beautiful and the classroom looks onto a lake and wildflower meadow. There is morning yoga, and students are welcome to explore the surroundings on the local footpaths, all meals are served around the kitchen table and the atmosphere is homely and welcoming. We always make time for a BBQ one evening, there are dinner parties with industry experts, and students can play tennis, watch tv, play games and relax in the property’s wonderful communal spaces between lessons. All students stay on site, so everyone gets to know each other well and friendships are formed. It’s a unique set up in this respect, and coming away with such an important skill is a great bonus!

Expert coaching from young professionals, family-run accommodation, and dinner parties each evening make for a fun and productive week of learning and collaborative research.
 
 
Testimonials — KOZI
 

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 
I decided to quit my previous job and learn to code at a bootcamp course in London several years ago, after months of online learning and research. It was a risky decision given I had no previous experience in computer sciences (I’d given up maths and science at GCSE) and the course was expensive and time-consuming. I’m so glad I made the move. By starting Kozi, I wanted to make the subject more accessible and fun – and also I think it is a great thing to understand whether or not you would like to begin a career as a developer. I was having dinner with a friend the other day whose sister has just started a job in marketing, and she did a module of coding at university and said it was definitely the reason she’d got the job, it was all they asked about in the interview.

I think that nowadays it is getting harder and harder to stand out in an interview, and so access to internships, and the skills that you learn at Kozi are really invaluable. I want to open up the subject to more creative individuals, whilst making sure they have a good time learning it. Students have so much time during their summer holidays, I remember not knowing what to do with all my time, and all my younger brothers and sisters have been the same.

Offering a summer course that is just 5 days, but leaves such a big impact seemed like a no brainer to me. It would be a perfect introduction to the subject, without the commitment of 4 months and huge bills. It’s a fun way to meet new people and the mentorship and potential internships are ideal for those about to embark on a job search.
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
I started Kozi in 2019, and so almost immediately we were in the middle of covid and of course it was hard to run a residential with so many restrictions. We reduced the size of the course, put together methods and systems to make sure that social distancing was possible, and conducted temperature checks daily and testing prior to arrival at the course. It was a really difficult time to run an ‘in person’ service, but thanks to the incredible teaching staff and the trust from those who had signed up, we were able to continue to run. We changed our cancellation policies to offer full refunds in case of cancellation due to covid, however fortunately nobody needed to do this!

Now that restrictions are easing, we’re hopeful that none of our future courses will be impacted. Our maximum capacity is 12 per course, so we were always a small venture, and we don’t have any intention of increasing the numbers at the moment – it works well to keep the courses small and intimate and our fantastic feedback is testament to this.
 

What can we hope to see from Kozi in the future?

 
Each year we donate a percentage of our profits to charity – this year we chose The Prince’s Trust and Malaika, which are both charities that support young people primarily through education. This is something I’m hugely proud of and we will of course continue to do this.

I’d like to work with more companies to offer internships to my students. The fact that they’ve learnt such important skills and dedicated time in their summer holidays to do this shows diligence and commitment to learning and as a result they are already streets ahead of others at a similar level. Interns are such an untapped market, there is a huge opportunity for companies to really expand their workforce and network with young, inspiring individuals, and I’m glad to be the link between the two.

I feel strongly about helping young people to start their careers in something they enjoy and feel is challenging and/or exciting. There are so many more brands and companies I would love to be able to work with – so hopefully this offering will expand in the next few years.

Currently, the offering is small, there are limited spaces and only a few courses a year, however as demand grows, I’d love to be able to increase the availability. My favourite part of running Kozi is the course itself. So much goes into the planning and preparation, sales, marketing, all the behind the scenes work, but really the reward is when the students arrive and we all (myself included!) have a great week together, the moment the penny drops and the students really understand the importance of what they’re learning and how it relates to things they will have seen/used in real life. It’s incredibly rewarding.