West Midlands Combined Authority secures £21m to extend digital bootcamps program

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has secured £21m from the Adult Education Budget to support a round of digital bootcamps which will run over the next three years, from  November 2021 to October 2024, with a target of supporting over 4,000 people.

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

Through a £7m 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 per cent of learners secure a positive outcome. Based on this success, the WMCA decided to bolster its bootcamp provision with more funding. Each bootcamp will be delivered by a training provider with expertise in technology and digital skills, with links to businesses that are providing guaranteed interviews and job opportunities.

10  training providers have been selected to deliver WMCA digital bootcamps: 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. 

Subjects covered will include data analytics and data engineering, web development, coding, UI and UX design, cloud computing, digital marketing and cybersecurity. The 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.

“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,” said Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority. “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.”