Economy Work and Skills Digital

Over 600 residents from underrepresented groups in Greater Manchester and Lancashire set to benefit from digital workforce funding

  • 14 projects to receive funding as part of the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund supporting businesses to address skills gaps & residents to enter well paid creative, digital & tech roles
  • The Fast Track Fund is a £3 million joint venture between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership

14 projects from across Greater Manchester and Lancashire have been announced as the successful applicants of the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund.

The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund, which was developed to address locally identified digital skills gaps, is a joint venture between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership (LDSP).

The £3 million fund, which is the first of its kind in the UK, was set up to support both Greater Manchester and Lancashire residents with accessible routes into digital employment, specifically targeting disadvantaged groups and those underrepresented to help them get into digital roles.

The 14 successful projects are additional to the six programmes which received funding in round one to support over 200 Greater Manchester residents. Tech Returners were one of these projects, securing round one funding for their ‘Your Journey into Tech’ programme to support people wanting to return or enter the technology industry after a career break.

This latest round of funding will enable the successful consortia to deliver a range of digital skills training programmes, creating inclusive opportunities for groups of people that don’t currently have access to these digital opportunities and currently under-represented in digital roles including BAME communities, under-employed individuals, women and ex-armed forces.

Successful applicants from round two of the initiative include Burnley College’s programme to help experienced manual workers transition into digital programming roles within the manufacturing sector. Manchester’s Tech Equity aims to upskill unemployed women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and provide a pathway for them to move into junior network engineer roles.

Digital Minister Caroline Dinenage said: “We are investing heavily to boost people’s digital skills that are more important than ever in these times. We want everyone to be able to seize the opportunities our world-class digital sectors bring. It is fantastic to see this new funding targeting innovative schemes that will make a real difference to people’s lives in Greater Manchester and Lancashire.”

Greater Manchester and Lancashire have a high demand for specialist digital roles due to their growing digital industry. The Fast Track Fund was designed to help support the local economy by building on the key digital skills requirements identified by local employers.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “In the current climate this fund is more important than ever, this pandemic has highlighted the real importance of digital skills and technology and digital will be a vital element in how we ‘build back better’.

"In Greater Manchester our ambition is to be recognised as a world-leading digital city region. This fund helps bridge the digital skills gaps across our city-region and build a diverse talent pool in Greater Manchester, to ensure local businesses have access to the highly skilled workers they need.

“We have been overwhelmed with the fantastic applications received, which are testament to the range of organisations who are actively working to diversify talent and offer opportunities to underrepresented groups in the sector, ensuring digital skills are never a barrier to social mobility.”

Steve Fogg, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said: “I am delighted Lancashire residents will be able to benefit from further funding for digital skills through the Fast Track Fund.  The work of the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership has already provided invaluable support to people looking to improve their digital skills. 

“Lancashire has a vibrant and growing digital sector, boosting productivity and high value jobs, with a thirst for new talent and we need to ensure everyone is able to benefit from emerging opportunities.  However digital skills will also have an important role to play across all of our key sectors including our cutting-edge manufacturers, of which there are many in Lancashire.  This is evident in the current covid-19 situation in which businesses have quickly adapted and diversified to manufacture ventilators and PPE.

“We are delighted to see so many applications from business and provider collaborations that aim to accelerate the diversity of the digital workforce in Lancashire through innovative approaches to quickly building the digital skills that are in demand from local employers.”


The 14 successful grant recipients for round 2 of the fund are:

  • Tech Equity- Tech Manchester, TAP, Heroworx & Malleable Mind, UKFast and M427

A ‘work readiness’ course for underemployed or unemployed women with a focus on black & ethnic minorities. The course includes three technical qualifications, organised with employer partners who have a significant requirement for junior network engineers.

  • DEEPer (Digital Engineering Education Programme)- Enterprise 4 All, Community & Business Partners CIC and Magma Digital

The Vision IT Programme will train PHP Developers meeting a specific technical skills gap and recruitment need in Lancashire. The programme is aimed at BAME Women, unemployed graduates, underemployed individuals, tech returners & career changers.

  • DevOpsSkills by The Open University and DXC Technology

A 20-week, part time training programme aligned to the skill sets required for entry level DevOps engineers, software engineers, support engineers and cloud administrators. The programme will be targeted at female career changers and returners wanting to enter the tech industry.

  • Cyber Ready North West- CompTIA and Novacoast

The Greater Manchester and Lancashire based course will prepare candidates for cyber roles e.g. Entry Level Security Analyst. The course is fully accessible to people in-work and has been developed to improve the diversity of the cyber talent pipeline by supporting returners to tech, low skilled, graduates, ex-armed forces, women, BAME individuals.

  • The Cyber Academy- Raytheon Professional Services with employer partners, Morson Projects, Salford Council, BUPA, Talk Talk and Sodexo

This project will deliver the core skills & knowledge essential for a cyber-security engineer including two technical qualifications combined with wider personal and professional skills. The project is offered in both full and part time options and has been developed with the aim of upskilling employees from existing IT roles and supporting women, over 50s, ex-armed forces and black & ethnic minorities into the cyber industry. 

  • All Digital- Reform Radio and All Studios

A 10 week intensive programme to enable unemployed young adults to break into careers in content creation & digital marketing. The programme has been developed to support young people aged 18-30 with a specific focus on women, as well as people from lower socio economic backgrounds & black & ethnic minorities.

  • Project Uplift- Burnley College

This programme will transition experienced manual workers into digital programming roles within the manufacturing sector. It is aimed at supporting people over the age of 50 who are either at risk or redundancy or those looking to change career.

  • Digital Data Specialists Academy- Salford University, Salford Council and BUPA

This programme will train 30 digital data specialists to address the lack of skilled data analysts across the public & private sectors.  The programme is aimed at women returning to the sector, black & ethnic minorities and unemployed graduates.

  • Power Up- West Lancashire College, Extraordinary Club, Innox Trading & Matrix Nutrition.  

Power Up is an intensive and immersive digital marketing bootcamp which will train participants to move in to jobs such as Digital Marketer, Web Copywriter and Social Media Marketer. The bootcamp is targeted at supporting unemployed graduates aged 21 – 34.

  • IN4. 0 Talent Academy

The Academy will teach STEM graduates to apply data science, cyber-security and cloud-based computing skills and how to apply and contextualize these skills to the manufacturing sector. Participants will be prepared for jobs such as Digital Graduate Engineer, Data Engineer, Graduate Data Scientist, Systems Engineer, Data Analyst, IoT Engineer

  • The Stockport Digital Academy- Stockport Council, MadLab & Stockport College

The Stockport Digital Academy is a 12-week full time programme training individuals at the start of their career to succeed in a junior software developer and similar related technical roles. The Academy will support unemployed college Leavers and care Leavers.

  • Short Form Content Creation Transition Course- Sharp Futures and ITV

An online 8-20 week training course to upskill unemployed or low paid residents for short-form content creation roles e.g. as content producers. The course will support people out of work or in low paid work with a particular focus on people with disabilities, workers in retail/hospitality & freelancers who need to broaden their skill base to gain additional work.

  • Additive and Digital Manufacturing- Made Smarter, Manchester Metropolitan University and Fabricon Design Ltd

This 12 day course will provide manufacturing employees with a solid grounding in all aspects of addictive manufacturing. Enabling progression into better paid roles e.g. AM Technician, AM Design Engineer.  The course will work with companies with a need to upskill employees to realise productivity benefits, with a particular focus on supporting women to enter the STEM industries.

  • Tech Lancaster- Milliamp Technologies

Tech Lancaster will support candidates towards roles such as Design Engineer to meet the need for digitisation in the Lancaster Electronics industry. The course is focused on supporting Ex-armed forces personal, graduates and underemployed groups.


Article Published: 23/06/2020 14:37 PM