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Greater Manchester and Lancashire both demonstrate a growing digital sector and growing demand for specialist digital skills resulting in skills gaps and hard-to-fill vacancies.

The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund is a £3 million, joint venture between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership (LDSP). It aims to help employers, in the Greater Manchester and Lancashire areas, to address their specialist digital skills needs through short, innovative, bespoke training.

This is not a fund about basic digital skills. We are particularly looking at the need for people in priority areas such as cybersecurity, data science and manufacturing – process control and AI/Robotics. Or other shortage digital skill areas; digital marketing and software development. Any area of medium to high level digital skills that can evidence a need will be considered at this stage.

Who is it for?

The fund is seeking applications from consortia who can work together to co-design and co-deliver creative approaches to addressing digital skills gaps faced by employers. These can be existing or new collaborations and can consist of any combination of employers, training providers of all descriptions, Colleges, Universities, other community or charity organisations – there is no set formula.

Identified vacancies are  absolutely the starting point for all potential bids. There will be an expectation that employers will give guaranteed interviews to the people who successfully complete the training programme they are involved with. This refers to digital roles within digital companies and those across all sectors e.g. construction, health, manufacturing etc.

How does it work?

The training programme should be:

  • As innovative in design and content as needed to match the needs of the employer within a maximum of 12 weeks for full time and 20 weeks for part time courses.
  • Should seek to promote greater diversity in the workforce with courses designed to attract and meet the specific needs of your target group.
  • Looking for 85% of participants achieving a positive destination.
  • Bids between £50,000 and £250,000
  • Expectation of significant employer contribution

How can I find out more/apply?

For queries about the fund please email:

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