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2022 - 23 WMCA Skills Programmes Funding Rules

Section 10. National Skills Fund Technical Bootcamps additional Funding Rules


This section sets out additional funding eligibility rules for learners funded through NSF Technical Bootcamps. Eligibility rules set out in the Eligibility section of this document are also applicable to learners funded through NSF Technical Bootcamps.

Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, with a guaranteed job interview (where a candidate is being recruited to a new job or new opportunities), which equip adults with technical skills that enable them to access in-demand jobs, apprenticeships, and new opportunities (including for the self-employed)

They give people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with an employer.

Skills Bootcamps are developed in partnership with employers, colleges, training providers and local authorities. They help people in England develop the skills that are in demand in their local area and get a better job.

Skills Bootcamps offer a range of courses, such as:

  • digital skills, including marketing, coding or data analysis
  • technical training in areas such as engineering, construction, or logistics (HGV driving)
  • green skills, for instance, solar energy or agriculture technology

Principles of Funding

Providers must make sure an individual is eligible for NSF Technical Bootcamp funding before claiming funding for them. It is your responsibility to check the eligibility of the resident at the start of each adult learning aim, and only claim funding for eligible residents.

Skills Bootcamps must be delivered at Level 3-5 or equivalent, with the exception of Skills Bootcamps in Construction, Green Skills and HGV Driving which may be delivered at Level 2 or equivalent.

All training must either be accredited, aligned to occupational standards managed by the Institute for Apprenticeship & Technical Education, or utilise a recognised standard for representing attainment (e.g. RARPA, SFIA) – Where the third pathway is chosen, we would expect a higher standard of evidence for employer engagement.

Bootcamps are fully funded for learners, however where these are being delivered/led by an employer, we ask for a 30% contribution from large employers or a 10% contribution from SMEs.

Learner Eligibility

To be funded by the WMCA, residents must meet the following criteria:

  • aged 19+ will reach their 19th birthday on or by the 31st August within the 2022 to 2023 funding year (defined for the purposes of eligibility as 01 August – 31 July)
  • have the right to work in the UK. This can be checked on to-work
  • meet residency requirements. Providers should refer to the Residency Eligibility section before accepting an individual onto a Skills Bootcamp and
  • live in England, further detail is provided below. You must not actively recruit learners who live or work outside of England.

As the Bootcamps are a national grant the guidance from DfE is that this funding can be used to fund any learner in England, therefore you would not be restricted to funding learners within the prescribed WMCA devolved postcode area.

We are keen to ensure that this funding benefits both residents and businesses within the West Midlands therefore are offering some guidance: You can recruit learners who are in the West Midlands but do not fall into the postcode list previously supplied (this opens it up to learners who sit outside the AEB postcode parameters) this means you can deliver bootcamps to anyone in England however, the expectation is they

  • Are either a West Midlands resident and/or
  • Move into a role within the West Midlands

We will fund an individual who does not live in England if specialist skills training is only available in England and the individual intends to work in England as a result of the Skills Bootcamp. We do not expect these numbers to be significant.

Skills Bootcamps are designed for individuals that are closer to the labour market and the assumption is that the majority of participants will have been away from the labour market less than 12 months. A Provider may only deliver a Skills Bootcamp to support adults who have not been in work for longer than 12 months if they judge that a Skills Bootcamp will support them effectively into a job outcome.

No prior attainment is required unless specifically prescribed by an employer and/or specifically related to the job and sector within which the vacancies offered are situated. However, Providers may have defined selection processes and/or assessments as part of their approach to recruitment of learners.

An adult may generally only undertake one Skills Bootcamp per funding year (1 April to 31 March) and must not be on more than one Skills Bootcamp at any one time. Providers have an obligation to ask prospective learners whether they have already undertaken a Skills Bootcamp in that funding year.

However, where an individual starts a Skills Bootcamp and then realises that it is not suitable for them for whatever reason, they may start, and be funded for, another Skills Bootcamp so long as only the first milestone payment (or less) has been reached (limited to two per funding year).

Where an individual starts a Skills Bootcamp in one funding year, and for some reason does not complete it until the next funding year, the start date will determine whether they are eligible to undertake another Skills Bootcamp.

Skills Bootcamps should be designed to encourage the participation of underrepresented groups, such as those with protected characteristics and those who might face barriers to employment e.g., veterans.

Skills Bootcamps area is open to serving prisoners due to be released within 6 months of completing a Skills Bootcamp, and those on temporary release.

Course length

The Provider must offer Skills Bootcamps of a minimum of 60 Guided Learning Hours (GLH) over a maximum of 16 weeks. GLH are the time a Learner spends being taught or instructed by, or otherwise participating in education or training under the immediate guidance or supervision of – a lecturer, supervisor, tutor or other appropriate provider of education or training, whether online or in person. Pre-recorded content does not count towards GLHs.

Course Content & Flexibility

The Provider must ensure that the Skills Bootcamps:

  • can be reasonably delivered to a Learner concurrently employed in either a full-time or part-time role or around other commitments
  • are accessible to Learners
  • training Providers must make reasonable adjustments, as appropriate for those Learners with Protected Characteristics (as defined by the Equalities Act (2010)
  • we will not fund any part of any learner’s learning aim or programme that duplicates provision they have received from any other source.

The Provider must deliver a ‘wraparound service’ of Learner support (for example, using a coaching and mentoring approach, from programme application stage, during, and post programme, to move people into jobs/new roles and opportunities. This should include upfront screening of applicants, soft skills (or work readiness) training to support the occupational skills training, vacancy/role/opportunity identification, providing pastoral services to help participants complete the Skills Bootcamp and follow-up services to participants and employers to support job placement mentorship, pastoral support) and high-quality advice and guidance to support the learner into a positive employment outcome (for example, CV writing support, mock interviews).

We expect all Learners to progress on to a guaranteed job interview upon the completion of the Skills Bootcamp, in the case of a new job.

The Provider may deliver Skills Bootcamps remotely, online or face to face or through a blended approach.

Data Submission

You must accurately complete all ILR fields as required in the ILR specification, even if they are not required for funding purposes.

In addition, providers are asked to complete a spreadsheet monthly, which should be returned by the 10th working day to

Please note, if you deliver multiple Skills Bootcamp, then a separate return is required for each Skills Bootcamp.

multiple cohorts of the same Skills Bootcamp delivered by a single provider must be captured on the same data return.

Where your data does not support the funding claimed, we will take action to correct this, and we could recover funds you overstated.

In addition to the information in this section, the Performance and management rules have been provided, which sets out how you should submit data and how the WMCA will undertake its financial due diligence, make payments, performance manage, audit and gain assurance from its providers.

WMCA has provided extra guidance regarding ILR coding please refer to the WMCA Coding guidance for more information. Providers will also have been issued with the DfE Bootcamp data return guidance.

Data must be reported in a timely manner; however, outcomes can be achieved up to 6 months from the end of the funding year – up to 30 September 2023.

Employer Co-Funded Learners

Skills Bootcamps must be co-funded at 30% of the agreed unit rate by the employer where the employer is training their own existing employees (defined as someone directly employed by the employer, not a worker, sub-contractor, or freelancer).

This is reduced to 10% where the employer is a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) (defined as an employer with less than 250 employees).

The entirety of the cash co-funding contribution must be from the employer.

Courses are fully funded by Government for individuals not being co-funded by their employer, and for the self-employed.

Providers are free to agree further funding contributions from employers should they want to spend more on delivering the Skills Bootcamps.

Individual learners must not be charged.

Evidence requirements

The DfE and WMCA will conduct random sampling checks of learner and employer evidence throughout the duration of the grant period aligned to reporting periods. We reserve the right to vary the volume and cadence of checks over the lifetime of the contract.

At the specified submission points, you will receive a random sample based on the learner data included within the data returns. This will be presented in a table and sent to you to complete as you collate the required evidence.

It is therefore imperative that you have access to learner evidence for 100% of learners who are participating in the Skills Bootcamps.

The evidence checks are retrospective by default and do not impact our ability to authorise payment claims. However, if any issues arise from any part of the process relating to data returns, payment claims or previous evidence checks, we reserve to right to conduct evidence checks in advance of releasing payment

At mobilisation, the DfE shared a ‘suggested evidence’ template. This includes expected evidence requirements for all learner profiles at all stages of the Skills Bootcamp journey.

Providers must ensure that residents meet the eligibility as set out in this document.

Evidence includes but is not limited to the below:

  • Proof of Day 1 of attendance and evidence of 5 GLH and 5 qualifying days (calendar days) have elapsed.
  • *Successful completion of a Skills Bootcamp training course.

  • Evidence of one of the below depending on resident:

  • independent learner/unemployed residents - Written confirmation of an offer of an interview, where an

  • Self-employed residents - Written confirmation from the learner of how the new learning/skills has been/will be applied to acquire new opportunities/contracts.

  • Co-funded resident - Written confirmation from the employer of offer of an interview for new role which utilises skills gained through the Skills Bootcamp or written confirmation from an employer that the learner is equipped to take on additional responsibilities which utilises skills gained through Skills Bootcamp

  • Evidence of one of the below depending on resident:
  • independent learner/unemployed residents – Offer of new job which must be continuous employment for at least 12 weeks or an apprenticeship.
  • Self-employed residents – The learner obtaining new contracts or new opportunities linked to the Skills Bootcamp.
  • Co-funded resident - A new role or additional responsibilities in an existing role - all outcomes must utilise the skills acquired via the Skills Bootcamp.

*Given the varied nature of Skills Bootcamps training courses, 'successfully finishing the training course' will be as agreed between WMCA and the provider but must include passing any required assessments.

Quality Assurance Team

The intention of this team is to support providers, to deliver consistently high- quality Skills Bootcamps, identify and share best practice and promote continuous improvement in Skills Bootcamps delivery now and in the future.

We will work alongside you in the process of Quality Assuring and where possible improving the delivery of Skills Bootcamps.

In the near-term, we plan to conduct visits to each Skills Bootcamp to observe teaching and learning, have discussions with key staff, learners, and other stakeholders, as well as reviewing relevant documentation.

Whistleblowing and Complaints Guidance

Providers, and where appropriate sub-contractors, must ensure that all applicants, learners, and staff linked to Skills Bootcamps delivery are aware of the DFE’s Whistleblowing and Complaints policies and processes.

Whistleblowing involves entering a 'whistleblowing' webform.

Whistleblowing entries for Skills Bootcamps must be clearly marked as 'Skills Bootcamps' and will submitted via the DfE's whistleblowing submission process and will be escalated to the relevant policy team.

Provider should ensure this information is passed onto residents.