Refresh Teesside had some fantastic speakers last week, including the chance to learn about the amazing work Code4000 is doing. Carbon DMP has recently been volunteering to help this initiative and this week we dig a little deeper to find out how and why you can get involved in a slightly different type of collaboration.
Code4000 has been teaching how to code in prisons such as Home House in Stockton since 2017.
The team is made up of six members of staff and aims to take prisoners from novices to the level of a full stack developer and continue to support them upon their release to ensure they get into work.
Jim Taylor, Programmes Director at Code4000, said: “We continue to support the guys once they’ve left prison. We provide online resources and continue to develop their learning until they feel able to move forward on their own.
“Our students are so enthused by their learning that they take their textbooks back to their cells and hand write code.”
The national rate for recidivism in the UK is around 50%, whereas Code4000 boasts a 0% rate for its graduates, with 43% of them in work or self-employment after graduation.
Pete Hall, James Healey and Carl Ingoe from Carbon started volunteering after hearing about the initiative through an article in The Guardian.
Pete Hall, Head of Platform Development at Carbon, said: “Working with Code4000 has been very worthwhile. Some of these guys have just taken wrong turns and this can help them to break that cycle and do something instead of falling back into prison.
“I’ve been working through the practicalities of programming and how to solve problems as a developer but we’ve also worked on other things such as reacting to something that a customer may want changing or storing your code so if your laptop dies you haven’t lost all of your projects.”
Pete is planning on starting project work with Code400 which will see the students create a calculator on a webpage that does calculations and interaction. The students will be given the opportunity to bring together the different areas of programming they’ve learnt into one project.
Jim added: “The students get a lot out of chatting to professionals like the guys at Carbon, they feel like they’re not on their own and people aren’t going to judge them. They’re keen to know what working in coding is actually like.”
The initiative is now looking to open in two women’s prisons in the North of England and is always looking for volunteers from the tech-sector.
From speaking about life in the tech industry and keeping the team up to date with changes in software development to offering work experience and delivering specialist sessions, Code4000 is open to any interest.
“We’re very open to hear what the professionals we have to visit would like to discuss with the students,” said Jim.
“Talks don’t always have to be around coding. We’ve discussed product management and marketing with the guys before. Graduates from our programmes have gone on to set up their own businesses with their skills – one guy even works with the Ministry of Justice now!”
To find out more about getting involved as a volunteer, or to visit and learn more about the work Code4000 are doing, you can contact Jim on firstname.lastname@example.org