Digital education providers Code Nation are celebrating the training of their 120th software development apprentice, and their 600th coding course graduate.

Headquartered in Manchester city centre, the firm provides software development apprenticeships and private training courses in an effort to close the digital skills gap with business-ready digital talent.

With the support of the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, Code Nation’s staff, students, graduates and employers came together to celebrate the milestone.

Its CEO Andy Lord said the solving the skills gap required the right training to ensure new hires were ready to make an impact from their first day.

“That’s why we work with businesses to build what we teach,” he said.

“We think it goes without saying that learning great technical skills is important. Students are surrounded by professional teachers and technical experts when they study with us, and they learn the modern tech stacks that employers are using. It’s a next-generation technical education.

“It’s really important that our students have an opportunity to get their head out of the code. It means they can focus on something different and take on the problem they’re solving with a fresh perspective - and a happy coder makes a great coder.”

It reports that over 90 per cent of its self-funded students are in employment across the sector, in addition to their successes in the Apprenticeship space.

“We owe our success entirely to the people who have experienced what we do - the apprentices, the graduates and the employers are the people that make it happen”, continued Lord.

“Just a year ago ‘Code Nation’ existed in a single office in central Manchester - it’s where our staff were based, as well as our students, and back then we were just a coding school. We hadn’t ventured into training apprentices at that time.

The firm now has the capacity to train 600 apprentices a year in Greater Manchester, and has expanded into Trafford, Chester and most recently Cambridge.

Following his visit to the campus, Andy Burnham called Code Nation a growing success story.

“Greater Manchester’s ambition is to be the UK’s leading digital city region. This city led the first industrial revolution, so why aren’t similar things possible in this century. I think they are,” said Burnham.

“The single biggest thing that gets said to me as I speak to tech companies around the world is: can we give them the talent if they invest here? Do we have the talent pipeline? That’s where organisations like Code Nation come in.”