Digital skills Digital Work and Skills

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

  • Over 400 residents from across Greater Manchester and Lancashire set to benefit from new specialist Department for Education funded digital skills training programmes

  • The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund has already supported over 800 residents from underrepresented groups such as women and ethnic minorities with accessible pathways into digital careers

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."

[1] Tech Nation Job and Skills Report


The nine digital skills training programmes currently open for applications are: 

Digital Boost- from We are Digital

 Digital Boost is a 12 week digital marketing course, delivered online by experts in social media and marketing. Designed to help fill the digital skills gap, the course aims to provide diverse and excluded communities with higher-level digital marketing skills and the confidence they need to gain higher paid roles in digital industries.

Find out more and register for Digital Boost

Raytheon Cyber Academy – from Raytheon Professional Services with employer partners, Morson Projects, Bridge IT and Salford City Council

The Raytheon Cyber Academy will deliver the entry skills & knowledge essential for a junior Cyber Security Technologist. This includes two globally recognised technical qualifications, combined with wider personal and professional skills. The training course is provided via a range of flexible options, to suit any applicant looking to build a new career in Cyber Security.

The Cyber Academy welcomes applicants from all backgrounds, age 19 and upwards, from Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

IN4.0 Talent Academy- from IN4.0

The IN4.0 Talent Academy will deliver a 12 weeks intensive programme where participants will gain a blend of technical, sales and personal skills and accreditations from Amazon Web Services. The Talent Academy will also help fast-track candidates through the recruitment process by setting up interviews for course participants with responsible employers who are looking for leaders of the future.

Find out more and register your interest

BuzzStart Talent from BuzzStart

Talent is a free, 12-week work experience and training programme designed to fast-track women (19+) into full-time employment with partner employers from across Lancashire & Greater Manchester. Participants will learn about Digital Marketing, Innovation and Leadership in a remote classroom and put their new skills and learning into practice in a virtual simulated social enterprise, "Digital Skills for Women CIC."

Find out more and apply

Your Return to Tech- from Tech Returners

The Return to Tech programme is an 8 week part-time course, offering the UK’s only fully accessible up-skilling route back into technology. The programme supports participants with the development of the technical and personal skills needed to re-enter the sector and prepare them for the right role for them.  The Return to Tech programme combines industry leading knowledge replicating real commercial environments, alongside career development and support from expert coaches. 

Find out more and sign up

Digital Employment Programmes- from Generation

Generation will be running two Digital Employment programmes for 19-29 year olds from Greater Manchester and Lancashire who want to enter the digital sector.  Graduates of both programmes will be connected with hiring employers and we will help to arrange interviews.

  • Data Engineering – A 12 week techncial programme covering both the soft and technical skills required to be successful in a role such as Junior Data Engineer.  Students will also enhance their employabilty through CV and portfolio workshops plus guidance on networking and interviews.  The course will include a considerable amount of coding and we will therefore sign post students to explore some basic coding during the application process.

Find out more and apply for this course

  • Digital Customer Success – A 5 week tech based customer service programme where students will develop their customer service skills in the context of a digital and tech based role.  This will involve learning new technical skills, plus probem solving and customer service.  Students will enhance their employability through CV / portfolio creation and interview skills.

Find out more about this course

DevOps Bootcamp- from QA

The DevOps Bootcamp is a 12-week, intensive course which will give participants the opportunity to take an industry-recognised certification in either AWS, GCP or Microsoft Azure. Course participants will benefit from support, soft skills training and mentoring as well as support from a recruitment manager who with help them to secure job interviews for local technical roles.

Apply for the DevOps Bootcamp

Blackburn Rovers Digital Bootcamp- from Blackburn Rovers Football Club

The Blackburn Rovers Digital Bootcamp is a 12-week Instagram marketing course designed by industry experts to help participants develop their digital skills and grow their own start-up business or personal brand.

Find out more and apply for the Digital Bootcamp

AudioFORM- from Reform Radio

AudioFORM is a 12-week training programme focusing on all aspects of audio production including; podcasting, sound design, production, studio engineering, editing and radio drama. The training is led by industry professionals and gives hands on experience for anyone wanting to access a career in audio. 

Get in touch to find out more and apply for the programme

Read our Fast Track Fund case studies

Article Published: 12/11/2020 15:17 PM