Free digital training programmes launched today to support Lancashire and Greater Manchester residents to fast track into digital roles

Greater Manchester and Lancashire residents are invited to apply for free digital skills training programmes, which are now open for applications.

These new flexible programmes, which are part of the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund and funded by the Department for Education Digital Bootcamps, come with guaranteed interviews for jobs in the region in specialist tech roles such as DevOps, Data Analysts, Cloud Engineers or Digital Marketers.

Nine projects from across Greater Manchester and Lancashire were successful in receiving Department for Education Digital Bootcamp funding as part of an extension to the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund. These projects will deliver training programmes to fast track over 400 residents into a specialist digital role and will upscale the existing Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund which has already supported over 800 residents.

The successful projects include a Data Engineering Bootcamp, delivered by Generation to help support underrepresented groups facing barriers to employment secure a dream role in data, one of the fastest growing areas of tech. Blackburn Rovers Football Club also received funding for their community based social media bootcamp for disadvantaged young people and ethnic minority women, the programme will equip participants with the skills to enter employment in digital marketing roles.

The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund is a joint venture between Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership (LDSP), developed to address locally identified digital skills gaps and support Greater Manchester and Lancashire residents with accessible routes into digital employment.  This Fund has been extended through the Department for Education Digital Bootcamps to maximise on this work, giving residents the opportunity to build up their digital skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic digital and tech roles have remained in high demand compared to other sectors, recent figures show that advertised vacancies in the UK’s digital sector had increased by 36% from June to August, unlike many other sectors.[1]

Over the last 18 months the Fast Track Fund has helped unemployed and underemployed residents find meaningful employment locally with accessible opportunities for groups like women and ethnic minorities that tend to be underrepresented in the digital industry. By the end of March 2021, the Fast Track Fund will have supported over 1200 residents in Greater Manchester and Lancashire to develop the specialist skills and mindsets required to fast track into a tech career.

AWS re/start launched their 12-week bootcamp in April 2019. The training scheme was established to prepare individuals for entry-level cloud positions. Victoria Lucaci, who is originally from Russia, was doing some casual work in a call centre and studying web design in the evenings before she started AWS re/start.

Following her graduation Victoria successfully gained employment as a Trainee AWS Engineer at Oxbury Bank. On landing her dream job, Victoria said: “It’s a dream come true! Having secured a job so soon after graduation, especially in these difficult times, is a miracle. I’m so thankful. All the support from AWS re/Start made it happen!”

DEEPer (Digital Engineering Education Programme), a training programme created by Enterprise 4 All, Community & Business Partners CIC and Magma Digital, received Fast Track funding to equip underemployed individuals and career changers with the skills needed to become PHP developers.

Before starting on the DEEPer training programme, Nicola Pickup had been working in the travel industry for over 20 years but was on furlough and at risk of redundancy.  Nicola who is currently completing the training programme said: “When I heard about DEEPer programme I was really excited about the opportunity to change career paths, but also a little daunted. The course is challenging but I am really enjoying it and am looking forward to the new opportunities it will open up for me.”

Cllr Sean Fielding, GMCA Lead for Employment, Skills and Digital, said“In Greater Manchester we want everyone whatever their age, location, or situation, to be able to benefit from the opportunities digital brings”

“The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund helps support residents with accessible routes into digital employment. This exciting extension to the fund will enable our residents who have been the hardest hit by this pandemic to gain valuable skills and support to find meaningful employment.”

Steve Fogg, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said“The Fast Track Fund has brought training programmes to Lancashire residents that address a skills need in the County as well as helping local businesses to fill vacancies. The further funding from the DfE is welcomed to continue to grow the programme and bring further opportunities for both residents and businesses.

It is a brilliant offer for Lancashire residents to benefit from digital skills training which will enhance their employment prospects time during this Covid 19 crisis. These specialist digital training programmes will be invaluable to people of all ages and stages of their career and I would urge residents to take advantage of this funding.”

Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture said: “A crucial mission in our national campaign to build back better is to boost the digital skills of the entire nation. Through our funding hundreds of people in Greater Manchester and Lancashire have already accessed training to help them land a tech-based role.

“I’m thrilled to see this opportunity now extended to hundreds more locals and help people take their first steps towards a fulfilling digital career.”

Find out more about these new training opportunities.

[1] Tech Nation Job and Skills Report

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