Sky Bet collaborates with Leeds charity to support individuals with autism

Sky Betting & Gaming has collaborated with Leeds-based charity Lighthouse Futures Trust to create a new approach which will see the duo help boost technical talent and increase employability for young adults with autism across the city.

As part of the new programme, Sky Betting & Gaming has rolled out its ‘coding for beginners’ initiative which has already been proven to be successful in enhancing digital literacy across the North East.

Rik Barker, Chief Technology Officer at Sky Betting & Gaming, said: “We’ve lots of ways in which a diverse range of candidates can access a tech career, including our Graduate Academy, apprenticeships and internships.

“This pilot scheme is the first to provide a completely new and accessible opportunity to an underutilised talent pool of neuro diverse young people, who we know find it particularly challenging to gain full time employment.

“Students attending the programme can gain the skills needed to improve their digital literacy and employability, as well as get to know more about the inner workings of a large and complex technology company.”

The partnership consists of a two-week bootcamp-style training course which offers students a variety of educational courses tailored towards the development of both technical and vocational-style skills. The main focus will be training participants about the best ways to practically apply their skills.

It will teach individuals with disabilities and autism how to code using Ruby and Java script, and the key principals of Agile, a project management method adopted by many technology companies.

Katie Parlett, Chief Exec at Lighthouse Futures Trust, added: “We have been absolutely delighted to work with Sky Betting and Gaming on this exciting pilot. They have been excellent partners – flexible, enthusiastic and understanding, with a real commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“The students on the programme were given an amazing experience with inspiring tutors, a great learning environment as well as learning how to code in an interesting way – using hangman and noughts and crosses.

“We are very excited about working with Sky Betting & Gaming on similar opportunities in the future as this is a perfect way in which young people with support needs can gain work experience as a first step to gaining employment.”

Jack Hemsworth, a student on the programme, commented on the opportunity: “I’ve really enjoyed this opportunity and want to thank the Lighthouse Futures Trust for enabling it to happen, and Sky Betting & Gaming who are making coding easier to understand. I am looking forward to gaining more experience in the near future.”

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