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Golfer to Coder; a New Career is on Par Thanks to New Coding Academy

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A new fast-track training programme launched by FinTech Wales and Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) has already helped 28 people to become front or back-end developers, and ex-PGA Golfer, Richard King, is the first of four programme graduates to be offered a job opportunity with Principality Building Society.

The 10-week Coding Academy was created and delivered by Cardiff and Vale College, iungo Solutions, The Knowledge Academy, risual Limited and Gaia Ines Fassò, based on the skills identified by FinTech Wales’ members and endorsed by Admiral, Principality, Deloitte and Hodge Bank.

Fully funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, the intense programme took 28 people, aged between 21 and 62 from a variety of career backgrounds, through a number of modules covering Javascript, CSS, HTML and also provided Microsoft Azure and Scrum Developer qualifications.

Richard, a former Golf Pro since 2004, was the first programme graduate to be offered an opportunity as Academy Developer with Principality.  He was the Golf Academy Manager at Hartpury College for a decade before moving back to Wales with his wife, Lucy and two children. He went on to be a coach at The Vale Resort in Hensol before the pandemic hit in 2020. It was after the subsequent lockdowns caused by Covid-19 that Richard decided he needed a change in direction.

Richard said:

“During the pandemic I spent a lot of time with my kids, which I hadn’t been able to do as a golf coach. So, when things re-opened and I went back to coaching, I realised that I didn’t want to spend such long days and weekends away from home.”

“I decided to look for a new career and, after the end of the lockdown in 2021 I read an article about a shortage of web and software developers in the UK, so I signed up to a one year online course, which I tried to do in my spare time.”

Richard handed in his notice at the Vale at the beginning of the year to be able to concentrate on his online course but his wife Lucy then saw an advert for the Coding Academy at CAVC and encouraged him to apply.

Richard continued:

“The Coding Academy was the perfect solution, it was full-time, exposed us to local FinTech companies and even provided a small salary. No prior experience was needed so I signed up.”

According to Richard, one of the highlights of the course was meeting people from the FinTech industry and hearing their advice about getting a role after the course.

He said:

“We were encouraged to apply for the roles we wanted while we were still on the course, so when I saw the opportunity as an Academy Developer with Principality I applied straight away.

“I’m really looking forward to working for a great company where I’m sure I’ll continue to learn more as I progress. I’ve also made some great friends from the programme and now I can work in a role where I get to spend more time with my family, I couldn’t be happier.”

Starting a trend, Richard is the first of four graduates from the programme who have been offered a job at Principality as Academy Developers, and interviews for other students have been set up with Confused.com, Delio, ActiveQuote and Ever Nimble.

Gemma Hallett, Head of Skills at FinTech Wales, was instrumental in helping to develop the programme. She said:

“I am absolutely delighted that so many of our coding graduates have been offered roles as developers and I’m very excited about the interviews lined up with fantastic employers for our other graduates. This academy in particular focussed on programming languages, cloud services and project management methods, which are highly sought after skills recognised by FinTech Wales’ members.

“We’re looking forward to working with Cardiff and Vale College and our members on more programmes like this. Collectively, we can develop and retain the skills required to truly champion Wales as leaders in FinTech on a global stage.”

Iain Mansfield, Chief Finance Officer at the Principality, said:

“We are delighted to have been able to make the first four job offers to the coding graduates, and we’re looking forward to them joining Principality as Academy Developers.

“As a founding member of Fintech Wales, we are passionate about supporting and growing the Welsh FinTech cluster. I’m a proud member of the FinTech Wales advisory panel who continuously review, identify and support the wider ecosystem. For us, it’s not just about supporting Principality’s growth; we want to support all the startup and scaleup FinTech businesses to create job opportunities, boost economic growth and develop important skills.”

James Scorey, Vice Principal Funding and Planning, CAVC said:

“Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) is delighted to have worked in partnership with FinTech Wales and key employers in this growing and important cluster to respond to business needs and create unique opportunities for adults across the Cardiff Capital Region.

“The College has strong relationships with firms in the sector and is working closely with them to provide a pipeline of new talent, develop their existing staff and support business growth.

“We are delighted with the success of our pilot programme and are actively working to secure additional funding to expand delivery and create further high quality training opportunities. We’d like to congratulate Richard and all of our graduates, they’ve shown great commitment, passion and enthusiasm and we look forward to supporting their development as they progress in their new careers.”

To find out more about the Coding Academy, and how you can support or take part in future programmes, email [email protected]