In July 2011, it was a small idea – workshops for women who want to learn to code but it quickly grew into so much more. Today, Ladies Learning Code has Chapters across Canada, thriving youth programs called Girls Learning Code and Kids Learning Code, Canada’s first travelling computer lab — the code:mobile and we are a major force shaping digital literacy education in Canada. Oh, and we’re just getting started.

Ladies Learning Code started with a tweet. Heather Payne knew there had to be a better way to learn to code than struggling on her own. She wasn’t the only one. The response was immediate and enthusiastic. The founding team – Heather Payne, Laura Plant, Melissa Sariffodeen and Breanna Hughes launched our first workshop, an Introduction to JavaScript, on August 6th, 2011 and tickets sold out in a day. So they planned another workshop. And another. Now, over four years later, Ladies Learning Code operates in 22+ cities across the country and has had over 25,000 learners attend one of our workshops.

But that was only the beginning

Shortly after starting Ladies Learning Code, we realized that it wasn’t going to be enough. If we really wanted to have an impact on the number of women in tech, we would need to start younger. So, in early 2012, we launched Girls Learning Code, which offers workshops, camps and other events for 8- to 13-year-old girls. Hundreds of girls in Toronto have already participated in Girls Learning Code programs, and we’re now expanding the program to new cities.

A year later, due to overwhelming demand from parents, we launched Kids Learning Code – co-ed workshops, camps and events for 8- to 13-year-old boys and girls.

Most recently, we launched the code:mobile – Canada’s first coding truck that will drive across the country in the Summer of 2016 teaching kids to code.

One of the best things about our youth programs is our commitment to ensuring they’re accessible. Thanks to a full or partial scholarships or our pay-what-you-can model more than half of all participants attend at no cost. We’ve also made it a priority to acquire our own set of laptops so that we can loan them to youth participants who might not be able to bring their own.

What makes us different

From day one, Ladies Learning Code has been by the community, for the community. And we believe that has made all the difference.

As we expand nationwide, we work with local leaders to create solutions that address the unique needs of their communities. Diversity in the tech community is a collective responsibility, and we are proud to work with incredible women, men, and youth who are passionate about tech education for all.

Our social and collaborative approach and our unique 4-1 ratio of learners to volunteer mentors in every workshop has helped Ladies Learning Code become known as a safe, welcoming environment where beginners of all backgrounds can come together to learn essential 21st century technical skills.

Digital literacy is the next educational frontier, and we are proud to be pioneering this movement in communities across Canada. We believe that computer programming and other technical skills are a tool of empowerment, and it is our mission to ensure that all Canadians — particularly women and youth — have access to learning opportunities.

Our Mission

We are a not-for-profit organization with the mission to be the leading resource for women and youth to become passionate builders – not just consumers – of technology by learning technical skills in a hands-on, social, and collaborative way