Thoughts, stories and events to share


Sophie O'Sullivan, about 3 years ago

Back in 2018, it was a pleasure to feature Pink Umbrella Studios on the blog. The digital design agency was founded by Michael Vreugdenhil, a former prisoner and highly successful entrepreneur.

Michael has recently gone onto co-found CodeAtt, alongside Tariq Hassan and Josh Rolland. CodeAtt is a Not-For-Profit organisation that teaches industry-specific coding and life skills to prisoners and young people at risk of crime.

Tariq is the former CEO of code 4000, Europe's only other in-prison coding project. Meanwhile, Josh, together with Michael, successfully went through this programme and started as a Software Developer at Metro Bank after leaving prison.

Drawing upon their expertise in tech, CodeAtt began with a small team of three people in the midst of the current global pandemic. They have since grown to 18!

The course is the first of its kind in the UK to focus on both tech skills and personal development. Dale Carnegie London, global leaders in business training, will teach life skills to improve prisoners sense of worth and self-confidence. During the course, they will also have the opportunity to create a coding portfolio and increase commercial knowledge. Graduates will be supported by mentors as they go onto kick-start their careers in the technology and finance world.

We've generated some real momentum since the launch of the organisation earlier this year and held some really positive conversations with members of the judicial and technology industries that are very interested in what we're doing. There is a lot of work left to be done, but the team is confident CodeAtt can help create genuine reform amongst prison leavers and young people at risk of crime.

-Michael Vreugdenhil, Co-Founder, CodeAtt

The tech industry currently employs more than a fifth of the workforce in the UK's biggest cities.

The demand of specialised tech skills is on the rise in the UK as more and more businesses invest in their online operations in a time of crisis. Tech Nation have reported that there has been a 36% increase in advertised tech roles in the UK between June and August 2020.

In light of this, the prisoners that CodeAtt support will have access to high level employment opportunities within a growth sector. This will boost digital inclusion, fostering hugely positive and sustainable outcomes.

CodeAtt provide a digital solution to businesses whilst also creating long-term social change by educating and empowering prisoners to thrive in the workplace. This has enormous benefits for our communities, reducing reoffending and transforming lives.

The team have hit the ground running and have already supported one prison leaver into employment. Codeatt have partnered with New Futures Network - the part of the prison service dedicated to supporting employers build links with prisons – and officially launch in their first London prison early next year. Going forward, there will also be a physical campus in London and a virtual platform for learners in the community.

We're delighted to be supporting CodeAtt to partner with several prisons next year. The team shows real passion for supporting prisoners and prison leavers with rehabilitation, through their ambition to teach tangible coding skills that tech employers are so desperate for.

-Zeki Bekir, National Sector Lead, New Futures Network

If you are an employer in the banking or technology sectors, please do get in touch with CodeAtt via our directory to find out more about how you can get involved.