Shabib Syed and his wife, Natasha, will be managing the centre together
State educators are struggling to keep up with students’ abilities, and extracurricular coding programmes are continuing to plug this gap. Code Ninjas, one of the world’s largest kids’ coding franchises, and its 300-plus international franchisees can certainly vouch for the demand of its services – as can the latest UK franchisees to join the fold.
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As the brand prepares for the opening of its very first UK centre, coming to Greater London this spring, astute entrepreneurs are capitalising on this growing need. Despite the recent £100m government investment for the Department for Education in the National Centre for Computing Education, there is still a significant shortfall in the number of teachers qualified to deliver quality, progressive coding education.
Brands like Code Ninjas are taking matters into their own hands by delivering fun, interactive and self-paced coding programmes. Children can work through the modules at their local centre, whilst learning with their friends after school or during the holidays. Parents feel safe in knowing that the coding education their child is being taught in mainstream state school is supplemented with an innovative curriculum that is constantly updated and revisited.
It is hardly surprising that entrepreneurs investing in the Code Ninjas rapidly growing UK network are parents themselves. Shabib Syed and his wife, Natasha, will launch their Code Ninjas centre in Hammersmith, west London in the coming months. Their two children, 14-year-old Mekael and 11-year-old Mallaeka, are both extremely passionate about digital technology – something Shabib is keen to encourage.
“In terms of digital literacy, our children have so much more to contend with than we ever did,” said Shabib. “And this doesn’t just apply once they reach employment age – the ability to use and understand digital tools is so prevalent, even at the primary school level. My two children are both very comfortable with using technology – I’m sure I’m not the only dad out there with a teenage son that’s obsessed with their PlayStation! We made the decision to invest in a Code Ninjas franchise because we see the value in equipping children with the necessary skills to thrive in a digital world.
“This endeavour also perfectly combines my background in high-level business operations, franchising and hospitality with my wife’s career as an early year’s educator. We will manage the centre together, with Natasha delivering much of the curriculum whilst I handle the behind-the-scenes operations. It will be a real family affair, as we hope Mekael will join us as one of our first Code Senseis, with Mallaeka enrolling as a student. We’re very excited to open the centre to children living in our community and can’t wait to see what impact it will have.”
The Syeds’ centre is the 12th confirmed to open in England in 2020, with 11 franchisees who have already invested in the franchise model since Code Ninjas first landed on UK shores in the spring of 2019. As a testament to the growth of the US-born brand, the international franchise team just hosted yet another full-to-capacity discovery day. This event allows for any prospective franchisees to ask questions about the model, meet with key members of the support team and find out more about the centre launch process.
Marty Flanagan, vice president of franchising, was overwhelmed with the response at the latest discovery day and predicts it won’t be long before the next cohort of UK franchisees will formally join the network. Flanagan continued: “We’re very committed to our growth in the UK which is why we host these discovery days regularly. Our event on the 13th February was one of the most successful to date. In fact, demand is so high that we’re already looking at dates for our next UK discovery day.”