In order to collect suggestions concerning the integration of Code4SP within the local or national policy frameworks, three policymakers from the region of Aveiro, Portugal, were interviewed in March 2023.
The interviewees were:
- Álvaro Gomes, former councillor for Education from (Ovar region City Hall),
- Sérgio Morais, former president of the Cortegaça Parish Council; and
- Nuno Almeida, president of the Anta e Guetim Parish Council.
After running through a questionnaire that aimed to assess and analyse current policies and coding programs, the effectiveness of these programs, the value of programming skills in the job market, and also recommendations for policy integration, a couple of key takeaways were extracted:
- It is well-established that there are limited training programs for low socioeconomic individuals programming at the local level but also national.
- TheCode4SP project is important and relevant for filling the gap in programming training for low-income individuals.
- There is a need for a closer partnership between training entities and companies to ensure that training addresses the companies' activities and needs.
- Support systems and resources are necessary for the successful integration of programming training into the region's companies.
- Training must be adapted to the needs of the target population, considering their existing knowledge and skills, as well as their learning style.
- Content of the training must be relevant to the current and future job market, with a focus on developing both technical and soft skills.
- Programming skills are highly valuable in the current job market and important for low-income individuals seeking employment.
- Informing employers of the importance of courses like these and organizing forums could help break down mental barriers and increase opportunities for low-income individuals.
- National policies should integrate programming training for low-income individuals to provide increased employability and strengthen its quality.
Of course, simply offering coding courses isn't enough. To truly make a difference, it's important to provide support for individuals throughout the learning process. This might include access to mentors or networking opportunities, as well as financial assistance for those who can't afford the cost of the course.
In short, if you’re interested in increasing your chances of finding a job in today's competitive market, learning how to code is a great place to start. And with the right policies and support in place, it's a skill that's accessible to everyone, regardless of the socioeconomic background of their participants.