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WMCA secures £1.1m funding boost for nine more digital bootcamps

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has received an additional £1.1 million of funding from the UK Government to roll out nine more digital skills bootcamps across the region.

The funding will allow another 300 West Midlands residents to take part in skills bootcamps covering cybersecurity, coding, digital marketing, TV and film production, AI and machine learning, and more.

The nine new bootcamps made available through the new funding will be run by BritAsia TV, Generation You Employed, Netcom, NIYO Enterprise and The Development Manager. The industry-led skills training is complemented by links to local employers that provide guaranteed interviews and job opportunities for bootcamp participants.

WMCA’s bootcamps are free of charge for learners, equipping West Midlands residents with vital digital skills. They support the unemployed and those seeking a career change, as well as employed people looking to gain the digital skills required to secure more responsibility or a promotion with their current employer.

To date, WMCA has received £7 million in funding, with which it has piloted over 30 digital bootcamps, training around 2,000 adults, who were unemployed or in low-paid jobs, with vital tech skills.

Over the next three years, WMCA aims to support over 4,000 people through its bootcamps. Its latest round of bootcamps began in November, with the nine additional courses commencing in January 2022.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority, 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.

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“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. Our bootcamps have been a great success and provided a clear pathway for people to move into work, and so I am delighted that we can now continue our great work and get more residents the skills they need to move into the high-quality, well-paid jobs of the future.”

Tony Shergill, CEO of BritAsia TV, which is providing two of the new bootcamps, added: “BritAsia TV is incredibly proud to be part of this new round of funding from the WMCA, which will provide opportunities to groups of young adults with creative skillsets but who may be under-represented within the industry.

“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. In the case of BritAsia TV’s bootcamps, participants will also achieve a CPD accreditation – a widely recognised career development practice within the industry.

“It is great the Department for Education is supporting the development of young adults through the Adult Education Budget, particularly when we consider that the population of Birmingham is one of the youngest in the UK. Ultimately, it means that BritAsia TV can be part of mobilising the West Midlands’ young workforce and fuelling their career progression.”

The digital skills bootcamps are a key part of 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.

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