Skills minister pays visit to HotSW LEP digital and technical bootcamps

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Department for Education visited three of the Heart of the SW LEP’s pilot bootcamps on Tuesday 23 March:

  • Photonics/Optics and Microelectronics and Marine Technology (Composites) Bootcamps running at South Devon College
  • Train4All’s Construction Skills Bootcamp at their Training Academy with Vistry Partnerships in Exeter
  • Focus Training group’s Electrotechnical Bootcamp at their training centre in Exeter.

The National Skills Fund (NSF) is due to be launched to help businesses find and recruit the workers they need, support adults age 19 and over to fulfil their potential, and support the provision of high quality training. Skills Bootcamps have been identified as a way to help the Department of Education (DfE) understand what works, lowering the level of risk of securing value for money.

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan, said:“It was great to hear first-hand how learners of all ages are using our technical skills bootcamps to help them in to new careers or gain the skills and confidence they need to re-enter the workplace.

“Skills bootcamps are unique, giving people the chance to upskill or retrain for free over a short period of time, with a clear line of sight to a job at the end.

“I look forward to hearing how all those taking part in the bootcamps progress, and would encourage anyone in the area looking for a new opportunity to find out more”.

Karl Tucker, chair of Heart of the South West LEP, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian McKeegan, to our area today so she could see for herself a number of our digital and technical bootcamps in action. These learning programmes have an important role to play in supporting adults into higher paid, more resilient jobs and by working in close partnership with employers, these programmes are designed to support the skills gaps in the high growth and in-demand sectors we have in our area.”

The Heart of the South West LEP was one of six areas nationally selected by the DfE to pilot digital and technical bootcamp learning programmes. The training model is based on 12-16 week bootcamps, designed in conjunction with employers in order to fast-track new recruits or current workforce to work-ready rolls.  A key criteria for each bootcamp is that it aligns to identified skills shortages vacancies in the region.

The training is free to the learner and comes with a guarantee that they will be matched to an interview in that industry within six months of completing the course. Learners are supported with job readiness modules and invited to quarterly online job fairs to meet with employers.

The HotSW LEP bootcamp programme, which is called Train4Tomorrow, has been given initial funding of £2.2million and is using this to offer training to 1,000 adults between January – June 2021. The training is being delivered by a mixed partnership of public and private lead organisations including Babcock, Cosmic, Bridgwater and Taunton College, Bluescreen IT, Exeter College, The Learning People, Focus Training Group, Train4All and South Devon College. The training, whilst non accredited, is matched to learning at Levels 3,4 and 5.

Train4Tomorrow consists of bootcamps in the following in-demand job roles and high growth sectors: CAD skills for the MOD, digital for adult social care and healthcare, IT and cyber practitioners, software developers, data scientists, digital marketers, welding, mechanical engineering, construction, photonics and renewables.

Several of the bootcamps have been designed specifically for certain employers. For example, the Babcock programme has been designed to meet the growing demand for Naval Engineers; the digital healthcare bootcamp has been designed in conjunction with multiple NHS STP and CCG partners; and the photonics bootcamp has been designed with Torbay Photonics’ cluster.

“The Focus Training Group are privileged to work with the Train4Tomorrow technical Bootcamp programme and employers’ to be able to provide individuals with the opportunity to commence their journey towards the level 3 Electrical Installation Apprenticeship.” Jamie Rail, Managing Director, The Focus Training Group

“This past 12 months has been a challenging time for us all, learners need to be developing their practical skills and progressing, the Level 3 Brick Bootcamp has allowed us to provide that, we are supporting not only the learner but assisting our employers in retaining their valuable staff.  There is so much opportunity for people to gain employment within construction and engineering at this time, the Academies in Somerton, Exeter and at Plymouth are positioned to help those looking to upskill or gain new skills in readiness to re-enter the labour market.” Jon Allen, CEO, Train4All Construction & Engineering

““At South Devon College we know how important it is to ensure our workforce have the technical skills needed to help our economy grow. The bootcamps will enable us to reach even more people across the area and help train the engineers, technicians and health professionals of the future, giving employers in key sectors of the economy access to industry-ready talent and individuals the chance to re-train or gain new skills.” Laurence Frewin, Principal and CEO at South Devon College.