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Greater Manchester and Lancashire businesses and training providers urged to apply for digital fund

A new £3m fund is being launched in Greater Manchester and Lancashire to support more training in specialist digital skills for local people. 

Businesses, training providers, colleges and universities are being encouraged to work together to apply for grants of up to £180,000 from the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund to run innovative digital training schemes linked to hard to fill jobs that need digital skills.

Interested parties are invited to find out more by attending one of two launch events happening in Burnley and Manchester on 25 June.

The fund is a joint venture between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership.

The aim is to empower employers and training providers in the Greater Manchester and Lancashire areas to co-design and co-deliver short, innovative, bespoke training programmes to meet their specialist digital skills needs.

The programme will diversify the digital talent pipeline by using flexible models to train a wide range of different groups for digital roles.

Andrew Western, GMCA Digital City Region lead, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to test new partnerships between employers and training providers that show the potential for longer-term sustainability and scalability.

“For Greater Manchester, we’re particularly keen to see creative projects that address industry digital skills shortages aligned to our Local Industrial Strategy. That’s cyber security, broadcasting, content creation and media, software development, digital telecoms, fintech and e-commerce.

“We also want to test flexible delivery models to make sure a range of people are able to access training that supports career progression and diversifies the digital talent pipeline.”

Mike Blackburn, OBE, Chair of the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership Steering Group, added: “This is an exciting opportunity to drive up digital skills in Lancashire, ensuring local firms have access to the skilled workers they need to fuel innovation and stay at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution.

“In order to access funding, we are looking for innovative collaborations between employers and providers.

“We’d encourage potential applicants to start considering what they would like to gain from the fund, to talk to potential partners and to make sure they attend one of the two upcoming launch events.

“We have made investing in Lancashire’s digital sector a priority, as part of our strategic plan to promote inclusive growth across Lancashire and maximise social value for the benefit of the local community.”

The Digital Minister, Margot James, added: “We want everyone to benefit from the digital revolution and by working in partnership with businesses, educators and public sector we’re giving people the skills they need to succeed in the future.

“Greater Manchester and Lancashire has a thriving and growing tech sector and through our modern Industrial Strategy we’re helping to make the UK one of the world’s most digitally skilled nations.

“I encourage all interested to apply for a share of the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund.”

The fund will open for applications on 25 June 2019.

As a first step, interested businesses and training providers, colleges and universities should register to attend one of the launch events.

Attendees will be able to find out how to apply and also network with other interested parties with whom they could potentially form a consortium.

The events are on Tuesday 25 June at:

A prospectus for the fund can be found at Further information is also available by emailing or

Article Published: 21/06/2019 12:46 PM