The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund

The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund aims to help employers in the Greater Manchester and Lancashire areas recruit hard to fill digital roles and move local people into better quality employment.

About the Fund

The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund (FTF) is a £3 million pilot programme the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is delivering in partnership with the Manchester Combined Authority and Lancashire LEP.

The FTF sought consortia, with an employer-led focus, who can work together to co-design and co-deliver creative, responsive approaches to address digital skills gaps faced by local employers. The pilot is co-funded with employers through match funding (cash or in-kind). Applicants could bid for between £50,000 and £250,000 to deliver digital skills provision (Please note the FTF is now closed for applications).

The training is primarily targeted at those in low skilled and low paid jobs, but also asks applicants to consider work returners, career changers and those from underrepresented groups in digital roles. The training is intended to move participants into better quality, digital roles.

The fund opened for its first round in June 2019 and successful bidders were announced in November 2019 (see details of successful projects below). The second round of the fund opened in December 2019 and closed for applications at the end of January 2020. Successful bidders to the second round are expected to be announced in early spring 2020.

The fund aims to :

  • Address locally identified digital skills gaps; supporting employers to recruit to hard to fill vacancies requiring specialist digital skills

  • Improve engagement between employers and training providers; building capacity to co-design & co-deliver training which can be sustainable

  • Support Greater Manchester / Lancashire residents to enter/retrain into skilled digital jobs and progress their careers through gaining good quality work

  • Diversify the digital talent pipeline by embracing new methods of recruitment and flexible ways of delivering training

Round One Winners:

  • Tech Returners ‘Your Journey into Tech’ - A 15-week programme aimed at getting returners to tech and career changers into software development

  • Generation - A 12-week programme aimed at helping disadvantaged 18-29-year olds into Cloud Engineering

  • QA - A 12-week DevOps training programme aimed at Underemployed graduates, career changers and returners to tech

  • Tech Manchester Tech Equity - A 12-week programme aimed at training local women (primarily from Hulme, Whalley Range, Fallowfield and Moss Side) to become Linux Engineers

  • We Are Digital Digital Boost - A 12-week intensive programme helping unemployed learners into Digital Marketing

More information about the fund can be found at the GMCA and LEP websites.

Published 6 March 2020