Why MigraCode Barcelona Offers Coding Boot Camps For Free

MigraCode Barcelona offers free programming courses to migrants and refugees and connects them to the job market. Porsche Digital supports the project as a partner and builds the link to the industry. In an interview Vincent van Grondelle, Program Manager of MigraCode Barcelona, and Scott Francis from Porsche Digital Barcelona explain how they work together to give people a perspective for the future.

MigraCode Barcelona is the first code academy for refugees and migrants in the Catalan city. More than 100 volunteers, including many IT and HR professionals, dedicate their free time to teach at the school and support the students in their job search.

The project aims to connect migrants and refugees to the job market through corporate hiring partners and to create an inclusive community consisting of locals and newcomers. Porsche Digital is a partner of the program since 2021 and supports with volunteers. Moreover the Porsche Digital space in the heart of Barcelona can be booked by students to study. We sat down with Vincent van Grondelle, Program Manager of MigraCode, and Scott Francis, Culture and Operations Facilitator at Porsche Digital Barcelona to learn more about the project.

1. Hi Vincent, hi Scott. Can you tell us a little bit about the basic idea of MigraCode?

Vincent: MigraCode is a classic coding boot camp where you can learn to code. To offer a more accessible version of regular bootcamps, we want to offer free courses especially to migrants and refugees. Many people with a migration background often have limited access to educational and professional opportunities when they arrive to Europe. So, with our boot camps, which are possible through partners like Porsche Digital, we can do these courses for free.

2. And what are the contents of these boot camps? What can people learn there?

Vincent: Of course, above all we teach coding, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, Database and NodeJS, but we also offer training on soft skills for day-to-day life. We also offer special courses for female students. Furthermore, we build networks with tech companies, so that we know the needs of the industry and hence can find suitable jobs for our students. Essentially, we are teaching coding for free to refugees and migrants and making the connection with the labor market.

Porsche Digital is a partner of the program since 2021

3. Scott, how does Porsche Digital participate in this?

Scott: Well, first of all we are a typical sponsor and fund MigraCode, but we are also interested in new talents from diverse backgrounds. So we also try to get involved with the students of the program. We as an organization feel that it’s a great program to help people to overcome barriers, so that everyone benefits in the end. Besides that, we are keen on engaging with the different communities in Barcelona.

4. What made Porsche Digital support MigraCode?

Scott: Porsche Digital came here more than a year ago, round about 15 months and we have made some partnerships along the way. We were looking for local organizations, private ones but also NGOs. MigraCode stood out, because we think that their work is really valuable for the community and for the city. I think it’s important that organizations like MigraCode exist, they address the need to help people accessing the digital world, which we are living in today. Also the industry needs new talents and there are a lot of people that want to work in the digital sector but cannot afford the needed education. So, we are happy to be involved with MigraCode in helping to give people a chance to participate in today’s work environment.

Vincent: We are very glad about the personal involvement of our sponsors like Porsche Digital. Scott did not tell me personally, but I heard that he was writing to our students on LinkedIn and encouraging them to apply. Other people at Porsche Digital are involved too, especially in the final projects of the courses. To provide a network is one important aspect of the project. But of course, on the other hand, the financial support of Porsche Digital allows us to keep our team together and to grow. Currently we rely heavily on volunteers, but we want to professionalize our team to guarantee an even better quality of the courses.

MigraCode gives people access to the digital world and to many important skills for their professional life

5. Scott, what are you hoping for MigraCode to achieve in the future?

Scott: I hope that Vincent gets his wish that all of this comes true. I look forward to seeing how participants get the chance to realize their career aspirations in the future. My biggest hope would be that we can be one of the companies that offers a few of these people their start in the industry. For me this would be absolutely fantastic.

6. And your hopes, Vincent?

Vincent: Well, we hope to raise the awareness for migrants and refugees and especially their struggles. However, we also want to raise the awareness for their potential, so they can be a vital part of our societies and economies. Our students are working really hard for this. In many cases, they study with us besides their jobs to finish our boot camp. So, the MigraCode project is hopefully one of these experiments to foster this effort.

Vincent van Grondelle, Program Manager of MigraCode, and Scott Francis, Culture and Operations Facilitator at Porsche Digital Barcelona

About this publication: Where innovation meets tradition. There’s more to Porsche than sports cars — we are developing new digital products and services — always with our customers in focus. On our Medium blog, we tell these stories. It’s about our #nextvisions, emerging technologies, and the people that drive our digital journey. If you want to know more, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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