socio-economic inequalities should never be a barrier to opportunity

Britain has always been at the forefront of technology. And with coding skills being fundamental to more than half of all jobs by 2035, it is crucial for today’s young people to have access to high quality STEM and IT education. Without it, they will not have the right skills to compete for careers and the UK’s leadership position will be jeopardised.

But, in a recent UK-wide YouGov survey commissioned by BJSS, 67% of all teachers said that they felt unable or uncomfortable with teaching coding because they lacked the right skills and tools to do so. This is fuelling inequality and is creating a digital class divide.

Often, because their parents cannot afford the financial outlay required, children from less-advantaged backgrounds don’t participate in private or extracurricular tuition, or they don’t enjoy access to computing equipment at home. It means that they possess fewer learning opportunities, and are often ill prepared to develop themselves for future careers in technology. It is these children, and their teachers, that BJSS aims to help.


By working closely with our partners, BJSS has successfully delivered these community outcomes:

School Children benefitted from free coding lessons

  • Young women benefitting from our initiatives 54%
  • Children from less-advantaged family backgrounds 51%

School teachers received free training in coding

  • Teachers working in schools outside of London 82%
  • Teachers with high ratios of disadvantaged pupils 61%



Turinglab is dedicated to teaching fundamental coding skills to British school children. BJSS partners with Turinglab to provide free coding lessons to children from less-advantaged backgrounds in Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham, Glasgow and London. Free training is offered to teachers in these cities too. In addition to funding this programme, we also provide Turinglab with pro-bono commercial, technical and engineering support.

Aiming to improve STEM education in the UK, Turinglab was founded in 2015 and is dedicated to teaching essential coding skills to school children.

The organisation was conceived when four students of Computer Science at Imperial College London volunteered in local schools to teach children how to code. They built a computer-based learning system which, when supported by a student from a local university like themselves, would take a child from having no coding experience, to having the skills to build their own computer game in 10 weeks.

We are in the digital age and those without digital skills will be left behind. The evidence shows that girls and children from low-income families are disengaging early on precluding them from providing digital solutions in the future. Imperial College Department of Computing has been very pleased to support Turinglab’s Saturday programming classes for girls and low-income children. We are pleased that organisations such as BJSS are supporting Turinglab to deliver similar programmes throughout Britain.

Professor Susan Eisenbach
Imperial College London


With pro-bono engineering support from BJSS, Turinglab has heavily updated its learning system. This partnership has helped Turinglab to deliver Britain’s first curriculum-linked creative coding platform to advance digital skills education, in addition to introducing cutting-edge automated student assessment functionality. Based on the tangible impact of our pro-bono support to Turinglab, BJSS was named Pro-Bono Company of the Year in the 2018 Better Society Awards.



Digital Her provides the support, the opportunities and the guidance needed to encourage a new generation of women into our industry. It achieves these goals by introducing young women to real role models and visible mentors from across the Manchester Digital network. In addition to our financial investment in Digital Her, key female role models from BJSS provide mentorship and inspiration through interactive workshops and sessions.

Through our support of Digital Her, we will also ensure key influencers such as teachers, careers advisors and parents are informed and able to support and advise young women interested in digital and tech. Additionally, the initiative lobbies policymakers to remove biases inherent within the education and careers service, creating exciting opportunities that will upskill the next generation of female talent and bring them closer to our industry.

The programme, provided by Manchester Digital, operates across the Greater Manchester constituencies.  It aims to inspire young women in the region to take careers in the digital industry by educating school pupils on the opportunities available to them in the industry and providing them with practical experiences to help them make informed choices.

Manchester Digital’s Skills Audit 2018 revealed that only 36% of people working in the technology sector are female, and just 19% of these women are in technical roles. BJSS is proactively spearheading an increase of female representation across the industry and sees this partnership as a key part in its mission to encourage greater gender diversity across the tech industry.

We are very pleased to have BJSS on board as partners for our Digital Her programme. Inspiring young women to take up careers in digital and tech really isn’t possible without support from industry. Forward thinking companies like BJSS are committed to working with us to make a difference and ensure that our industry is inclusive and diverse.

Katie Gallagher
Managing Director, Manchester Digital



The Make the Grade programme focuses on bringing ideas and inspiration through real-life, hands-on experiences about future career paths. With #GirlTechLCR, workplace visits, primary to college-level activities, and interview coaching, BJSS helps young women to develop their digital skills and learn about career opportunities in technology.

Make the Grade partners employers with education to equip young people with the skills they need for work and help them make informed career choices. This proven, externally validated model is supported by some of the UK’s largest employers, the Department for Education (DfE), government and the European Commission.

Through Make the Grade, BJSS aims to raise awareness of the variety of roles and skills needed for careers in the digital sector. 

By engaging with young women from all backgrounds, our people act as mentors and champions of diversity, supporting their aspirations to succeed in the digital sector.

“It has helped me to have more of an understanding about the careers in technology and what is available to me.”

“I’ve learnt that you can do whatever you want and you should always chase your goals.”

“I have learned about many new jobs and that GCSEs and qualifications really matter.”

working with schools in leeds to nurture technical skills


The LEP aims to stimulate growth and create jobs and prosperity for everyone who lives, works and does business in BJSS’ home city of Leeds. Our role on the LEP is to improve digital skills at local schools, and we achieve this by delivering practical support. For example, BJSS dedicates a team of its people to mentor students of the South Craven School, helping them to progress through BTEC Unit 22 – Developing Computer Games. We also engaged Turinglab to deliver coding lessons to students of the South Craven and Cockburn schools.

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) works with public and private sector partners to provide support and funding to help businesses grow, attract new investment to the region and develop the skills, energy and digital infrastructure to create jobs and prosperity.

BJSS sits on the Employment and Skills Panel which brings employers together with local authorities and skills providers. The panel oversees projects to address skills gaps in the city region’s key industry sectors, and creates local leadership that drives improvements in skills and employment. 

Just wanted to say a big thank you to all of you for providing the workshop at South Craven School yesterday. The feedback from staff and students has been very positive! It is something we will want to do again in the future.

Karen Higson

Advice and Guidance Officer / Pinnacle Coordinator, South Craven School