Funding approved to help more people into digital industries

Steve Fogg
X The Business Desk

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More than 600 people will benefit from the latest funding package for digital industries across Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

Fourteen projects will benefit from the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund supporting businesses to address skills gaps and residents from under-represented groups to enter well-paid creative, digital and tech roles.

The Fast Track Fund is a £3m joint venture between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership.

The 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 under-represented 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 more than 200 Greater Manchester residents.

Tech Returners was one of these projects, securing round one funding for its ‘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.

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.”

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’.

“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 under-represented 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.”

The 14 successful grant recipients are:

  • Tech Equity – Tech Manchester, TAP, Heroworx & Malleable Mind, UKFast and M427
  • DEEPer (Digital Engineering Education Programme) – Enterprise 4 All, Community & Business Partners CIC and Magma Digital
  • Dev-Ops Training Academy – DXC Technology and The Open University
  • Cyber Ready North West – CompTIA and Novacoast
  • Cyber Ready – Raytheon Professional Services with employer partners, Morson Projects, Salford Council, BUPA, Talk Talk and Sodexo
  • All Digital – Reform Radio and All Studios
  • Project Uplift – Burnley College
  • Digital Data Specialists Academy – Salford University, Salford Council and BUPA
  • Power Up – West Lancashire College, Extraordinary Club, Innox Trading & Matrix Nutrition
  • IN4.0 Talent Academy
  • The Stockport Digital Academy – Stockport Council, MadLab & Stockport College
  • Short Form Content Creation Transition Course – Sharp Futures and ITV
  • Additive and Digital Manufacturing – Made Smarter, Manchester Metropolitan University and Fabricon Design Ltd
  • Tech Lancaster – Milliamp Technologies

The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund initially launched in 2019. Round one awarded funding to six organisations: Tech Returners; Generation; QA; Tech Manchester; We are Digital; and Sharp Futures, with funding to support more than 200 Greater Manchester residents into employment in the creative, digital and tech sector.

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