Scotland’s first digital skills academy has welcomed its initial intake of 15 students, who are due to graduate in January 2016.

Industry-led CodeClan has been created to help meet the immediate and short term need for skilled software developers in Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s support has been drawn from the £6.6 million made available to Skills Development Scotland to drive forward the implementation of the ICT and Digital Technologies Skills Investment Plan (SIP).

Speaking at the launch, deputy first minister John Swinney said: “I’m delighted to be here at CodeClan today and to meet the first intake of students. They are already learning the skills that will help them embrace the wide-ranging and vibrant career opportunities the digital sector has to offer.

“The digital and ICT sector is very important to Scotland. It contributes over £4 billion GVA to the economy. Estimates show there are over 84,000 people working in digital or IT jobs across the economy as a whole and this number is rising fast. Scotland needs an estimated 11,000 new digital / ICT workers each year to meet current and future demand in the sector and we need to take urgent action to close this gap.

“We know this challenge will not disappear overnight, but CodeClan is a strong step in the right direction. By providing a pool of job-ready talent, CodeClan will not only help businesses to achieve their full potential, but also help Scotland build its reputation as a global player in the digital economy.

“As the flagship action of the Skills Investment Plan, and with business driving its design and offering, we welcome CodeClan’s potential to help meet the immediate need for software developers across Scotland, support for young people in becoming work ready and to play a part in the growth of both the digital / IT sector and the wider economy.”