Way back in July 2014, codebar, the charity that runs free programming workshops for minority groups in tech, asked us to host their very first event in Brighton.

10 years on, with codebar now an international charity supporting over 18,000 students from minority groups in 33 chapters worldwide, codebar came back to Ideal to celebrate their 10th birthday with a night of coding, networking, pizza and fun.



It was great to hear stories from the Brighton founding members of how they first set the Brighton branch up and  to see the success stories first-hand – 50% of the attendees had gone on to find employment in coding from the experience and knowledge they had gained from the workshops. Others were just starting out on their coding journey.

Why do we need codebar?

Whilst diversity and inclusion has undoubtedly got better over the last decade, it’s still a huge issue in our sector. A 2022 survey revealed that ethnic minorities make up only 15.2% of the tech labour market in the UK, while women are just slightly above that at 25.5%.*

How does codebar make a difference?

The codebar model encourages experienced coders from the industry to become coaches, mentoring and support people from minority backgrounds to help bridge this gap and change lives. Sponsors, like Ideal, provide free office space, food and drink where it all happens.

The goal is to enable students to learn programming in a safe and collaborative environment, making technology and coding more accessible and giving students the opportunity to expand their career opportunities.

And it works. In the 10 years since Ideal hosted that first Brighton meeting, codebar has facilitated over 2,000 workshops throughout Europe and the USA and in Asia and Africa.

Coaches deliver fun, accessible tutorials in HTML/CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, Python or Git and help students to understand commercial programming concepts. Workshops cover different levels, from an introduction to basic coding to supportive training for people who want to become full-time developers.

Coaches driving growth as well as change

Kimberley Cook, Director of codebar, explains that codebar’s phenomenal success is being driven by people from within the industry: “codebar’s growth is 100% organic. Each chapter has been started by someone in that location saying they want to make a difference. It’s a huge testament to the amazing community and the demand for change in the tech industry.”

Remarkably, codebar now has over 6,000 coaches worldwide, voluntarily giving up their time, energy and knowledge to encourage diversity and inclusion in the tech world.

A great fit with Ideal

Right from its inception, Ideal has always focused on its place in the community. When the founders originally approached Mo, Ideal CEO  he thought it was a great idea. Mo says: “I remember that first event well. We had 17 students and 10 coaches and there was a real buzz about the evening. Last night, 10 years on, there was a similar feeling.

“I remember thinking back in 2014, what a great format this was, but I never imagined it would be this successful! Happy birthday codebar!”

If you would like to become a Sponsor, hosting an event like this, or you would like to be an organiser or a coach and share your skills, contact codebar today. 

*Tech Nation — Diversity and inclusion in UK tech (2022)