Scotland’s digital skills academy CodeClan appoints industry stalwart as chair

Industry stalwart Bill Douglas has been appointed as the new chairman of Code­Clan, Scotland’s digital skills academy, which this week celebrates its fifth anniversary.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 12:30 pm
Left to right are Polly Purvis OBE and Bill Douglas of CodeClan, the Scottish digital skills academy. Picture: Killian McAleese
Left to right are Polly Purvis OBE and Bill Douglas of CodeClan, the Scottish digital skills academy. Picture: Killian McAleese

Douglas, who brings managing director level experience from the manufacturing and software sectors, replaces Polly Purvis at the helm of the digital skills academy’s board.

Douglas has held leadership positions at a number of major companies including RBS and Zonal Retail Data Systems. A communications and electronics engineering graduate from Edinburgh Napier University, he joined CodeClan’s board in May 2015.

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Purvis founded CodeClan and has chaired the digital skills academy since its inception.

CodeClan chief executive Melinda Matthews-Clarkson said: “Polly Purvis is in the very DNA of CodeClan, the team and I have the very highest regard for everything Polly has done to get us to the position we find ourselves in today and we are beyond pleased that we will be able to continue to rely on her wise counsel going forward.

“In Bill Douglas, we have the perfect person to help guide CodeClan through its next phase of growth.”

Douglas said: “CodeClan has the very real potential to be front and centre of the advancement of digital skills in Scotland at a time which is both a tipping point for all things digital and challenging economic environment.

“The dedication to success of our leadership team, our board, our trainers, our students and our graduates is something which makes me very energised about the road ahead and I can’t wait to get started in my new role.”

Initially funded by the Scottish Government, CodeClan is now run as a not-for-profit self-funded organisation, working with hundreds of employers across Scotland ranging from start-ups to global corporates.

It has campuses in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, with the CodeClan team and students either back on campus or planning to get back in combination with a remote learning virtual classroom model that was initiated earlier this year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 1,000 graduates have emerged from the academy since it opened its doors in 2015.

CodeClan said it was experiencing a “significant increase” in demand for its data analysis course from its employer network and candidates, which Matthews-Clarkson has put down to Scotland’s growing reputation for data-driven innovation.

She added: “When you look at how initiatives like the City Region Deal have led to the scaling up of data infrastructure here in Edinburgh alone, at the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre or Heriot-Watt’s GRID facility, the continuing success of The Data Lab or how global technology group Truspilot set up its international R&D hub in Scotland this summer, you can see that data-specific roles are only going to increase in the months and years ahead.”

Providing an update last month, Matthews-Clarkson said: “We are not going to pretend that the last few months have been easy, but it’s nice to take a moment to see how far we have come as we mark our 1,000th graduate.

“It’s exciting to get people back on campus, albeit in a restricted fashion for the foreseeable future.”

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