86. Code First Girls

Code First Girls founder

Company: Code First Girls

Founder: Anna Brailsford

Website: https://codefirstgirls.com/

Code First Girls - ShfWIT

About Code First Girls


Code First Girls (CFG) is a social enterprise that supports women to learn to code for free and ensures tech companies can access the top female talent they need in order to flourish.

Currently, women make up less than 21% of the tech industry, and black women make up less than 3%. The UK’s tech job market is projected to be worth £30bn by 2025 – six times larger than it is now. That kind of growth brings big opportunities for our economy, but as things stand, there will be 1 qualified woman for every 115 roles by 2025.

This sparked co-founder and CEO Anna Brailsford’s mission to eliminate the gender gap in the tech industry by providing employment through free education.

Through CFG’s disruptive and highly successful B2B subscription model, spearheaded by Anna, we have taught more than 150,000 women to code. CFG is now the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK, having delivered over £40 million worth of free technology education and teaching.

We address the diversity gap by offering coding education that is free, virtual and accessible, which means learners can fit their studies flexibly around their lives. 57% of our learners come from underrepresented ethnicities and 41% of our community are classed as career switchers, with 26% identifying as neurodiverse.

CFG courses are, on average, 600% oversubscribed, with courses being developed around industry needs and aligned to building regional economic opportunities for learners.

Our unique system matches candidates throughout the educational process using data and insights to ensure the best fit between employers and our community, whilst building regional talent pools and helping to develop local communities and economies.

We work closely with more than 130 businesses including Goldman Sachs, BAE Systems, and Rolls-Royce, to get more women into tech roles – up from 5 in 2019. We have also partnered with more than 90 universities across every region of the UK and Ireland, as well as government departments including GCHQ and the Cabinet Office.

Through these partnerships, we are helping women and non-binaries break into the industry by linking amazing talent with businesses globally.

CFG hit its target of over 50 new clients for 2022 and is growing its client list exponentially, helped by a 150% retention rate. Due to CFG’s rapid growth, the business increased its team by more than 50% in 2021/22.

As a result, Anna is leading the start-up in scaling up fast. Over the next five years, Anna plans to offer over one million opportunities for women to learn how to code for free and aims to place over 26,000 women into tech roles, enabling £1 billion+ in economic opportunities for women to enter the global tech economy.

By helping women learn to code and working with companies globally, CFG is boosting employability, diversity and social mobility, transforming local economies and communities. Our goal is to become the world’s first coding education unicorn dedicated to women and the largest community of tech-educated women.


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