From education to employment

West Yorkshire Colleges [re]boot Career Prospects During COVID

Structural Engineer and [re]boot learner Matthew Powell

 Nearly 400* people have signed up for a career-enhancing [re[boot course with a West Yorkshire college in the last year.

Launched by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in September 2019, the [re]boot project has offered fully-funded courses ranging from Electrical Installation to Digital Marketing and Analytics.

[re]boot offers short courses at no cost to the participant and is funded by the European Social Fund. The West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges represents the seven main colleges in the region who are delivering training through the project (Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds College of Building, Leeds City College including Harrogate and Keighley Colleges, Shipley and Wakefield College).

Part of the LEP’s Futuregoals campaign, the project was initially aimed at individuals who were in work and wanted to progress or change career into digital, construction or engineering roles. However, as COVID19 impacted on the UK’s workforce, the colleges have also signed up those on furlough and/or at risk of redundancy because of the pandemic.

Last summer, when people across the region were in the first lockdown, course registrations peaked.

In September Leeds College of Building launched a [re]boot course exploring Building Information Modelling (BIM) for industry professionals or those looking to progress within the Built Environment sector.

Having graduated eight years ago, and with the threat of redundancy looming, Structural Engineer, Matthew Powell decided to start the BIM course that would help him demonstrate to potential employers his willingness to learn.

Matthew said “The course has given me new skills and allowed me to take on more responsibility in my current role. My ambition is to use what I have learnt to become more efficient at completing work tasks, apply new protocols and embed a Building Information Modelling philosophy.”

Digital business owner Chris Shaw is Managing Director of Overview Studios in Castleford and sees how [re]boot could help give job candidates a competitive edge.

Chris said, “The [re]boot courses are a great way to start developing a skill set. If we see that an applicant or current employee has invested time and energy in their own development with this independent learning, and they are interested in joining the industry or progressing within their current employment, it demonstrates that they are self-motivated and have the capacity to learn new skills.”

Linda O’Donnell, Director of Business Development at Shipley College has been co-ordinating the college’s [re]boot courses.

Linda said, “At Shipley College, we have worked really hard to adjust both our delivery methods to online learning, and the type of course needed to meet the demands of the region.

“Digital skills were in high demand before the pandemic, but that demand has escalated even more in the last year. We are trying to support people who wish to pursue a career with the skills that they need to succeed in 2021 and the courses have been very popular.”

The project continues to offer a wide range of digital, construction and engineering courses. Many can be delivered right now, online. Other courses that require face to face workshop training including some engineering and construction courses are taking registrations and will run when the colleges can open more widely.

To take part participants need to be 18 years or older and live within the Leeds City Region (Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield or York districts).

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