Londoners can now apply for a free two-year coding school that comes complete with the guarantee of a job at a top tech firm after graduation.
New initiative 01 Founders has launched a brand of school it plans to roll out around the UK by 2030, training up 100,000 Britons into sought-after software engineers.
The first site, established in partnership with Capital City College Group, will launch in a space in Euston in October with 250 students. Each will be offered free tuition and full-stack developer training, and there will be scholarships available to cover living expenses.
01 Founders say their idea is to "bias towards potential over profile"; students can be of any age and have no academic experience.
Companies signed up to offer graduates roles include fitness platform Peloton, tech infrastructure provider Nominet and AI firm Faculty.
01 Founders was co-founded by serial entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, who runs the Founders Forum network and whose Made.com is set for a London listing, and education expert Nicolas Sadirac of coding platform 01 Edu.
The school will be unusual in that it will not feature any teachers. Learners will be taught by 01 Edu software, "solving gamified projects at their own pace while learning from their peers".
Applicants will need to pass a short cognitive test. Around 500 - 750 candidates will enter a month-long selection process on-campus over the summer. The process should boost participants' CVs, as they will learn the coding language "Go" for free.
The initiative plans for the 250-strong first cohort of learners to be 50% women, 30% from ethnic minorities, with a total of 50% made up of people from underrepresented backgrounds in tech, such as refugees, the long-term unemployed and those from low-income households.
01 Founders CEO, Joysy John, said: "For too long, women, ethnic minorities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds have been under-represented in technology. 01 Founders is starting a nationwide movement that removes the barriers to job-ready technical training.”
Hoberman said the initiative's backers are "delighted to be the first to bring this coding school model to the UK".
He said: "The lower cost peer-to-peer learning aspect enables us to scale this platform quickly across the nation, ensuring that we are able to deliver free-to-access technical education to huge numbers of people across the UK."
To apply, or to get in touch as a company interested in partnering with 01Founders, see 01Founders.co.