Tech notice: local offenders going straight through digital

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

One of the businesses shortlisted for the inaugural Tees Tech Awards have revealed details of their work creating much-needed coding programmers through work at a local prison.

With the inaugural Tees Tech Awards due to take place digitally on August 20, it’s becoming more apparent that some incredibly talented people are lurking in all corners of our region.

With the digital sector’s fantastic achievements about to take centre stage, representatives of three of those shortlisted – iTCHYROBOT commercial director Rebecca Lambton, Wander Films director Lou Tonner and Jim Taylor, programmes director of Code 4000 – talked to Tees Business co-editor Dave Allan during the latest Tees Business Leaders online Q&A, in association with Close Protection Security.

For Code 4000’s Jim, helping people has been taken to another level.

“Code 4000 is all about teaching technology and changing lives,” he said. “We deliver computer programming training in UK prisons and have an academy at HMP Holme House in Stockton.

“We teach our students to be fully trained computer programmers and work with them to get jobs or suitable training opportunities.

“Our biggest joy is that not one of our students has re-offended or returned to custody – and that’s in a country where 50 per cent of people leaving prison will reoffend within 12 months.

“For us it’s a win-win. We are reducing reoffending and bridging the tech skills gap.”

Shortlisted with Code 4000 in the Tech for Good category at the first Tees Tech Awards are Guisborough-based iTCHYROBOT.

The firm is celebrating its tenth year in the digital sector, providing web-based solutions across the UK with an overall objective of saving money, improving efficiency, adding value and increasing revenue.

“It’s great that we have been shortlisted in the Tech awards,” said Rebecca. “It’s a great achievement, especially when you see the amazing companies we are up against.

“For us, our biggest achievement has been finding a specific niche in education. We’ve managed to work with 70 per cent of the schools in the Tees Valley area, not only developing a product which improves school efficiency, but also taking part in career days which introduces primary students to the opportunities in the tech sector. That’s really important to us.”

While their brand of tech is very different, Wander Films bring an excitement and colour to a world sometimes unfairly considered as cold.

Young, enthusiastic and talented, Wander were also tasked by organisers Tees Business with the job of creating films of those shortlisted for the Tech Awards.

Lou said: “For probably a quarter of the people we have filmed so far it’s the first time I’ve met them, but these people are doing such incredible things within a 10 miles radius.

“It’s mind blowing what is happening here and it’s brilliant that we are shouting about it.”