01 Founders is a new kind of coding school in the UK. It addresses three fundamental challenges in the UK’s fastest-growing sector: a profound skills shortage that has no end in sight; a huge gap in diversity and inclusion; and the fact traditional education has become too expensive and outdated.
01 Founders offer a free education with a job guarantee. It avoids the traditional structures of subsidies and student loans. It uses peer-to-peer learning to train and nurture exceptionally talented software developers, ready for an ever-changing world. The first cohort of learners — or fellows — came from an extremely diverse set of backgrounds including a chef, two bus drivers, a musician, an interior designer and a charity membership manager, none of whom expected to embark on the journey towards a career in tech. This decade, 01 Founders will offer this life-changing opportunity to 100,000 fellows, changing the nature of the technology sector in the UK and Ireland and preparing the sector for the demands of future recruitment.
01 Founders was established in partnership with Founders Forum, Capital City College Group and 01 Edu, bringing together enterprise, education and innovation to tackle the skills gap.
How does it work?
Unlike traditional tech education paths, which require high school or university diplomas and experience, 01 Founders selectees establish they have the right cognitive capabilities and mindset by going to the website and playing a specially-designed game. If they are successful, they are invited to take part in a completely immersive 3-week selection process. It is intensive and collaborative, with individuals succeeding by working together.
This approach was pioneered by 01Edu, using a tried and tested pedagogy that in other countries is proven to be highly effective. The approach sees 95% of fellows complete their learning and secure 100% in well-paid tech jobs. These indicators compare favourably to more traditional paths such as university degrees and apprenticeships.
01 Founders also describes itself as a talent agency because it offers a job guarantee. At launch, a number of world-class companies like Peloton, Nominet and Faculty had already formed partnerships with 01 Founders. They are now helping to develop the projects used by fellows to learn the skills they will need for the world of work. They will also hire fellows upon graduation. Many other companies are already indicating they are interested in this approach, which gives them a chance to build relationships with fellows during their time at 01 Founders.
Other forms of support were also secured at launch. Major tech names including the entrepreneurs behind Snyk, Softbank and Black Heart Foundation gave financial support to cover the cost of living expenses. Fellows must dedicate their time to learning for two years, but are expected to graduate debt-free.
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01 Founders in 2022
Tech recruitment in the UK is broken. The profound changes wrought by the pandemic in work patterns, in the outlook for certain sectors and in people’s career expectations mean tech recruitment needs new solutions.
In 2022, 01 Founders will continue to run selection processes to unearth hugely talented individuals who may never have imagined themselves pursuing a well-paid career in tech.
Founder and CEO Joysy John has a track record of building successful educational startups and mentoring schemes, including Sift, Flow, Stir Education, Startup Leadership Programme, Founders Fit and the Ada National College for Digital Skills. Using her experience, Joysy’s senior team will focus on creating a scalable and sustainable model that meets the needs of the learners and employers.
01 Founders is based on collaboration and teamwork and was designed around on-campus learning. Learner expectations about hybrid and remote learning have changed in two years and the new fellows will develop ways of working together that suit the current environment and prepare them effectively for whatever work patterns are developed by future employers. Part-time and hybrid models of learning are in the works, and the campus model will be expanded across other regions in the UK and Ireland, potentially embedding the 01 Founders model into post-16 schools and colleges.