£3.3 million in funding has been secured by Metro Mayor Dan Norris to expand a series of successful Skills Bootcamp programmes through the West of England Combined Authority.

The cash from the Government will allow another 1,200 West of England learners to take part in Skills Bootcamps at locations across the region.

The Skills Bootcamps will be free for learners and offer flexible courses up to 16 weeks to the unemployed and those seeking a career change, as well as employed local people looking to gain new skills.

They will give local people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills, including in areas such as digital marketing, construction, welding, green skills and HGV driving, and will be delivered by a training provider with links to businesses providing guaranteed interviews and job opportunities.

Abigail Frear, Director at TechSPARK, said, “It’s fantastic news that these programmes are being expanded. TechSPARK have been heavily involved with the Digital Marketing Bootcamps run in consortia with Bath Spa University and Bath College, and it’s been incredible to see how much the students have learnt and increased their skills over the 12 week course. They often start with little to no knowledge of marketing, to being able to deliver most aspects of any digital marketing campaign – a much in demand skill for local employers”.

The Combined Authority secured the funding boost following a successful bid to Government. It will support up to 1,220 people across the region from April 2022 to March 2023.

The Skills Bootcamps are part of Metro Mayor Dan Norris’s drive to equip West of England residents with vital skills to help get them into better-paid jobs. He said: “I’m delighted to secure this funding to deliver more Skills Bootcamps, which have been a great success, enabling more local people get the skills they need to move into high-quality and well-paid jobs that meet the needs of employers.

“There is training for heat and solar panel installers and retrofit advisors, vital if we are going to reach our net-zero ambitions, plus there are courses for people who want to be HGV drivers – so important to keeping our shelves full – and welders, plumbers and more. As Metro Mayor, the Combined Authority that I lead has a real focus on improving people’s skills, and today’s announcement builds on our strong track record in skills delivery and is great news for talented and hard-working West of England residents.”

The Skills Bootcamps will be led by the West of England Combined Authority to ensure they target the specific skills needs of the region.

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Alex Burghart said: “Skills Bootcamps are a highly effective way to learn skills at pace in a range of in demand sectors including digital, construction and green transport.

“This funding boost will support even more adults across the region to take advantage of these free courses and get on the path to well-paid careers.”

This funding builds on the £2m retraining that the West of England Combined Authority is already delivering to equip more than 1,200 residents with valuable digital skills.

The Combined Authority welcomes local training providers and businesses to find out how they can get involved in delivering the latest Skills Bootcamps to people in the West of England by visiting: www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/what-we-do/employment-skills/wave-3-skills-bootcamps/