Anna Brailsford is the CEO of Code First Girls (CFG) and a Board Member of the Institute of Coding. Prior to CFG, Anna co-founded her own EdTech startup and was the Commercial Director of Lynda.com. Anna oversaw LinkedIn’s acquisition of Lynda.com for $1.5 billion, becoming part of the fourth-largest acquisition in social media history; a deal she says, on paper, is her greatest business achievement to date.
Anna started her career working for family-run businesses and has always gravitated towards entrepreneurial roles and hyper-growth environments, which have shaped her mindset and broader outlook on business.
She joined CFG in June 2019, and leads the team on its mission to close the gender gap in the tech industry by providing employment through free education globally. She creates life-changing economic opportunities for CFG’s community of learners, using data to match candidates and employers to ensure both parties benefit from CFG’s courses.
Anna’s passion for this mission has brought the world’s biggest brands on side – including Nike, Rolls-Royce, Goldman Sachs and BAE Systems. Her vision, married with helping the industry tackle a major skills gap and recruitment shortage, is helping turn the industry’s recruitment on its head.
CFG is now the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK, having taught more than 150,000 women to code – five times as many women as the entire UK university undergraduate system.
Under Anna’s leadership, CFG now boasts a network with over 130 partners (up from 5 in 2019), including Deloitte, Natwest, Skyscanner, Morgan Stanley and Capgemini. In 2023, CFG also partnered with more than 90 universities across every region of the UK and Ireland, as well as government departments including GCHQ and the Cabinet Office.
Since Anna joined CFG, over half (57%) of CFG’s learners have come from under-represented groups, and 49% are career switchers, with 80% of students coming from non-STEM backgrounds. Girls are not being encouraged into tech careers early in their education, but under Anna’s leadership, CFG is helping to rectify that by providing women with the opportunity to boost their university studies or career switch at a later stage – at no cost to them.
CFG courses are, on average, 600% oversubscribed, showing that despite the social and financial barriers to entry for women in tech, there is a strong appetite for coding education among women, with courses being developed around industry needs and aligned to building regional economic opportunities for learners.
As a result, Anna is leading the business in scaling up fast. Over the next five years, Anna plans to offer over one million opportunities for women to learn how to code for free. As part of this ambition, she aims to place over 26,000 women into tech roles through the CFGdegree programme, enabling £1 billion+ in economic opportunities for women to enter the global tech economy.
By helping women learn to code and working with companies globally, CFG is boosting employability, diversity, and social mobility, transforming local economies and communities.
Anna is leading CFG to become the world’s first EdTech unicorn dedicated to women, building the world’s richest source of data for women tech talent.
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