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West Midlands residents can benefit from £21m digital skills bootcamps

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has launched its next round of digital bootcamps to improve the digital capabilities of residents across the region.

The bootcamps are free of charge for learners and equip West Midlands residents with digital skills, enabling them to access roles in areas like coding, cybersecurity and digital marketing. They support the unemployed, those seeking a career change, as well as employed people looking to gain the digital skills required to secure more responsibility or a promotion with their current employer.

Through a £7 million grant, the WMCA has so far piloted over 30 digital bootcamps, training around 2,000 adults who were unemployed or in low-paid jobs with vital tech skills. One of these pilots has seen 62% of learners secure a positive outcome. Based on this success the WMCA decided to bolster its bootcamp provision with more funding.

£21 million has been made available from the Adult Education Budget to support the new bootcamps over the next three years, with a target of supporting over 4,000 people. These will run from November 2021 to October 2024.

Each bootcamp will be delivered by a training provider that has expertise in technology and digital skills, with links to businesses that are providing guaranteed interviews and job opportunities.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “Retraining and upskilling have such critical roles to play in our region’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, and are a cornerstone of my jobs plan to help 100,000 people into work in the next two years.

“We know that training in the skills of the future that employers want and need is a crucial way to help people bounce back into employment quickly, and technology is an area of huge employment possibilities that we must help people get the right skills in.

“The sector offers new, exciting, and future-proof jobs, and digital bootcamps are a great way of helping local people get involved.

“Our bootcamps have been a great success and provided a clear pathway for people to move into work, and so I am delighted that we can now continue our great work and get more residents the skills they need to move into the high-quality, well-paid jobs of the future.”

Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of Wolverhampton City Council, said: “A skilled workforce is a productive workforce, and it is only through giving them the relevant skills, training and support, that they can play their part in driving forward the West Midlands’ economy.

“The digital bootcamp initiative is a great example of investing in opportunities for our people.”

The ten providers selected to deliver WMCA digital bootcamps are: Generation You Employed; University of Birmingham; School of Code; Tech Talent; Capita; The Skills Network; LEAD; Resume Foundation; Twin Training International; and Code Your Future.

Their bootcamps will cover data analytics and data engineering, web development, coding, UI and UX design, cloud computing, digital marketing and cybersecurity, among other specialisms.

These digital bootcamps are a key part of the WMCA’s plans to implement its Digital Roadmap, which sets out five missions to digitise the region, including becoming the UK’s best digitally connected region and increasing access to digital opportunities by tackling digital exclusion.

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