From education to employment

£7m will help people in Greater Manchester fast-track to job interviews


Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has secured £7m from the Department of Education to provide fully-funded training to people living and working in the city-region, aiming to support them into employment after a career break.

Training will be delivered as part of Greater Manchester’s Skills Bootcamps – part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee – which helps people to get onto the career ladder, transition back into work after a break or access progression opportunities.

The bootcamps will support people aged 19 and over from priority groups with flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, while helping employers to fill skills shortages they have identified.

In 2018, GMCA initially worked with the Department for Media, Culture and Sport to test Skills Bootcamps through a pilot scheme called the ‘Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund’, which focused particularly on providing accessible routes into digital employment.

As a result of the pilot’s success, whereby 53% of learners were successfully supported into employment, the Department for Education is now rolling out and scaling up more varied Skills Bootcamps nationally. The funding GMCA has been awarded will go towards offering training in the city-region until 2023 across range of industries such as construction, manufacturing, digital, the green economy and others.

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Greater Manchester’s new lead for Education, Work, Skills, Apprenticeships and Digital said:

“It’s fantastic that our success rolling out the previous Digital Workforce Fund has led to Skills Bootcamps being scaled up on a national level. This demonstrates how Greater Manchester is committed and forward-thinking when it comes to offering a skills system that is fit for purpose, ensuring local people have access to new opportunities while businesses can benefit from a high-quality talent pool.

“We have ambitions to offer long-term support and remain committed to better joining up to the post-19 skills system so people who live and work here have access to better opportunities and businesses can benefit from a high-quality, local talent pool to support economic growth.

“We look forward to working with the Department of Education on an ongoing basis in order to support as many local people as we possibly can.”

More than half (£4.5m) of the £7m secured is earmarked to improve digital skills across a range of industries, inspiring people to think about a career in digital by giving them the skills and confidence to do it.

This is a gap consistently identified by employers following the effects of Covid-19.

The rest of the funding will be used to deliver training that responds to sector-specific challenges, such as upskilling in retrofit and green techniques.

Skills Bootcamps will also support individuals across priority groups including;

  • low paid and unemployed/not in work
  • veterans
  • ex-offenders
  • women
  • ethnic minorities
  • over 50s
  • those returning work after a break/maternity leave
  • people living with a health condition/disability

Already, four new training providers have joined the programme that will each deliver Digital Skills Bootcamps, supporting our ambition to position Greater Manchester as the key place for businesses seeking a digitally-skilled workforce to invest in outside of London.

The successful providers are; IN4 Group, Generation, Netcom Training and Back2Work Group. Each will offer a variety of training between Levels 3 and 5, which have been co-designed with employers to ensure suitability.

GMCA is now looking for a consortia of employers and training providers with innovative ideas to upskill the green economy, manufacturing and construction sectors to bid for its latest commission opportunities.

David Adewole, 27, from Manchester, accessed digital training through the scheme while working at a Covid-19 testing centre. He is now an Events Co-ordinator at IN4 Group, the operator of innovation hub HOST, the Home of Skills & Technology in Salford, one of the providers that has been involved in the programme since the initial pilot.

He said:

“I was living in London but was made redundant as a result of the pandemic so I decided to move to Manchester for a fresh start.

“I took a job delivering pizza and then moved to the Covid testing centre, which was rewarding but I wanted to do something to develop myself. I’d always been interested tech but had no idea how to get into it as a career, so when I saw an advert for a fully-funded training bootcamp, I applied.

“I completed my course while continuing to work for the testing centre and took on client projects like building websites to get new experience. I then secured a job at IN4 Group as a Junior Tech Consultant and have since been promoted to Events Coordinator, organising small scale round tables through to larger graduations and events with political leaders. I’ve been with IN4 for over a year now and it’s thanks to the Skills City AWS re/Start bootcamp that I was able to find this opportunity. It was great to be a part of a programme that integrated both my interests and passion for life.”

Skills Bootcamps are fully-funded for individuals who are not accessing training through their employer (i.e. out of work, in-work and looking for a career change or the self-employed), however, employers training their existing workforce are asked to pay 30 per cent of training costs. This is reduced to 10 per cent where an employer has less than 250 employees.

Related Articles