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Digital boot camps pave the way for young people getting employment opportunities


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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 boot camps, which are flexible courses being delivered full or part-time.

The boot camps 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.

The latest round is now underway, training nearly 300 local people in the skills local employers need to fill vacancies now, and in the future, with further opportunities being made available between now and June.

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.

“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.”

The WMCA has already funded 21 digital boot camps for more than 1,200 adults, who were unemployed or in low-paid jobs, intending to get 70 per cent of people into positions upon completion.  

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

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, added: “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.”

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


Written by: David Watkins

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