West Midlands gets £1.1m government funding for digital skills training

WMCA digital skills

An additional 300 West Midlands residents will be able to take part in digital skills bootcamps after the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) received £1.1m in government funding.

Businesses in the region will be able to enrol staff in an additional nine digital skills bootcamps, where they will be able to improve their knowledge in areas such as coding, cybersecurity, digital marketing and machine learning.

Bootcamp participants can also receive “guaranteed” interviews and job opportunities.

The nine new bootcamps will be industry-led and run by BritAsia TV, Generation You Employed, Netcom, NIYO Enterprise and The Development Manager. Courses commence in January 2022.

Some 2,000 adults who were unemployed or in low-paid jobs have so far participated in more than 30 digital skills bootcamps run via the WMCA.

Digital skills bootcamps are one solution the government is pursuing to tackle the digital skills shortage.

2021 report by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) revealed that 48% of UK businesses were recruiting for roles that required data skills, but that 46% of those have struggled to find appropriately skilled candidates.

“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,” said Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA.

The combined authority has received a total of £7m in funding for its skills bootcamps and launched the latest round of bootcamps in November. It also has access to a £21m funding pot made available from the Adult Education Budget.

Tony Shergill, CEO of BritAsia TV, which is providing two of the new bootcamps, added: “The bootcamps will give them the chance to gain real-world media experience, develop or refine technical and practical skills, and improve on key soft and transferrable skills, which are so important for career progression.