Artificial Intelligence firm Sidetrade has announced the launch of The Code Academy, a new training and career pathway for young people into the UK’s AI industry.

Based in Birmingham, the free training programme will give 12 young people a life-changing experience, and the opportunity to apply for newly created data and software jobs.

Sidetrade CTO Mark Sheldon said: “Our Code Academy is designed to turn talented people into data and software engineers, quickly and affordably. They learn cutting-edge AI standards and work, one-on-one, with professional mentors in the field.”

The Academy is a coding bootcamp comparable to programmes in the UK such as General Assembly, Le Wagon, and Flatiron School, but distinguishes itself by its focus on the Midlands, workplace experience, and a chance to secure a data or software engineering job at the end.

The Code Academy is the brainchild of Luke Hennerley, lead application engineer at Sidetrade, who wanted to see a disruptive form of training, and new paths into the AI industry. He said: We’re doing something special at Sidetrade: The Code Academy welcomes applicants who might not have a degree in a computing related subject, but who have a demonstrable interest in AI. It’s a great way to increase intellectual diversity and innovate with fresh eyes. We’re taking candidates from zero to full stack developer.”

Sidetrade aims to create 18 new AI-related jobs in 2020. Tech teams are currently spread across Birmingham, Paris, Dublin, and London.

Developing the next generation of AI talents is important for Sidetrade to maintain its position as a leading AI-powered customer platform. The Code Academy, which was piloted last year, is part of Sidetrade’s commitment to providing engineering skills and jobs for young people in the Midlands, to keep the UK at the forefront of the AI industry.