Manchester firm Northcoders has launched its first ever software apprenticeship programme to bridge the poverty divide and solve the skills gap.

The coding bootcamp has trained 169 people in 12 cohorts since its launch in 2015. Twenty apprenticeships will be available in this initial pilot with the first intake starting in early September.

The business - which is based in Federation House - has partnered with leading national apprenticeship provider, Total People, to ensure it gets the regulatory elements of the programme absolutely right.

“Northcoders was set up because we couldn’t square in our minds that on the one hand we have a booming tech sector and on the other so many people in the North are either living in or near poverty,” said Northcoders co-founder James Brooke.

“It’s obvious that the solution to the skills shortage is the people of our region but that divide needs to be bridged.

“We believe the Northcoders Apprenticeship goes a long way in addressing this as it will be a credible pathway that can help anyone take those job opportunities which are now on offer.

“Students won’t have to pay and they can earn while they’re on the course, and businesses can access talent cost-effectively through apprenticeships. It will also serve as a great way for businesses to re-skill their current workforce.”

The programme will last 14 months with apprentices spending time at Northcoders’ bootcamp and working as part of a team at an employer’s office. Successful graduates will earn the City and Guilds Level 4 Software Developer qualification.

Linda Dean, MD of Total People said: “We all know there are huge skills gaps in the world of digital and tech and we’ve been extremely proud to work in partnership with organisations like The Juice Academy to help fill these gaps over the last five years.

“Northcoders has a superb reputation in the world of training already and we are looking forward to being part of its next important chapter.”