Digital bootcamps helping local people to gain new jobs in tech sector



Nearly 1,500 local people are benefiting from free training to start a new career in the digital sector.

The Government has made a further £2m available to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to hold more of its popular digital bootcamps, which are flexible courses being delivered full or part time.

This builds on the £5m retraining that the WMCA has already delivered over the past 18 months to equip more than 1,200 residents with valuable digital skills.

Digital bootcamps helping local people to gain new jobs in tech sector

Fran Gonnella, who has gained a new job as a result of attending a digital bootcamp

The latest round of bootcamps is now underway, training nearly 300 local people in the skills local employers need to fill vacancies now and in the future, with further bootcamps due to start between now and June.

The 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.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, 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.

“The extra £2 million we secured from the Government has enabled us to fund a new series of these bootcamps, which are already up and running. I would urge anyone who has fallen out of work or who is worried about their future employment, to see what training options are available through the WMCA.”

The WMCA has already funded 21 digital bootcamps for more than 1,200 adults who were unemployed or in low-paid jobs, with an aim of getting 70 per cent of people into jobs upon completion.  

These include the Women in Software Academy, which is delivered by Birmingham training provider TechTalent Academy. The company specialises in offering digital skills training to women and other groups who are under-represented in technology.

Fran Gonnella, aged 22, from Stourbridge, joined the academy last August while working in a restaurant. As a result of the training, she has gained a new job as an engineering project manager in the rail sector.

“I’m very interested in audio programming as well as all things cyber-security and code or puzzle-related, so I thought the Women in Software Academy would be a great way to mix these together,” she said.

“The trainers helped me develop my knowledge in all these areas, showed me how to improve my job profile for GitHub and LinkedIn, and supported me with my CV.

“I’m enjoying my job, as I have the opportunity to work with code and software and I can see the products of my work in the real world.

“I’d definitely recommend anyone thinking about joining a digital bootcamp to go for it. I have always been interested in coding but in school and sixth form, I was surrounded by boys who had gained a lot of coding experience, which I found daunting as a female beginner. This meant that I didn’t push myself or focus on it as much as I’d have liked.”

The extra funding for digital bootcamps is part of a Government drive announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last autumn to boost the country’s economic recovery by transforming the skills and training system.

To find out about more about starting a new career in digital, or improving your existing skills, visit https://beta.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/power-up/

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