Fast Track Workforce Fund Round 2 & 3

Find out more about the Fast Track projects
in Round 2 and 3.

The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund, which was developed to address locally identified digital skills gaps, is a joint venture between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership (LDSP). The £3 million 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. Over 600 residents from underrepresented groups in Greater Manchester and Lancashire set to benefit from digital workforce funding.

Round 2

A total of 14 projects from across Greater Manchester and Lancashire were announced as the successful applicants of the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund in round 2 of the funding.

The 14 successful projects are additional to the six programmes which received funding in round one to support over 200 Greater Manchester residents.

The 14 successful grant recipients for round 2 of the fund are:

In the Lancashire area:

The programme will train PHP Developers meeting a specific technical skills gap and recruitment need in Lancashire. The programme is aimed at BAME Women, unemployed graduates, underemployed individuals, tech returners & career changers.

A 20-week, part time training programme aligned to the skill sets required for entry level DevOps engineers, software engineers, support engineers and cloud administrators. The programme will be targeted at female career changers and returners wanting to enter the tech industry.

The Academy will teach STEM graduates data science, cyber-security and cloud-based computing skills and how to apply and contextualise these skills to the manufacturing sector. Participants will be prepared for jobs such as Digital Graduate Engineer, Data Engineer, Graduate Data Scientist, Systems Engineer, Data Analyst, IoT Engineer.

Hear from some of cohort 1 on why they signed up and what they have experienced on the programme and listen to Joel’s experience working with an employer to support and develop the employer’s business processes whilst gaining valuable work experience and professional insight.

  • Power Up – West Lancashire College, Extraordinary Club, Innox Trading & Matrix Nutrition.

Power Up is an intensive and immersive digital marketing bootcamp which will train participants to move in to jobs such as Digital Marketer, Web Copywriter and Social Media Marketer. The bootcamp is targeted at supporting unemployed graduates aged 21 – 34.

  • Project Uplift – Burnley College

This programme will transition experienced manual workers into digital programming roles within the manufacturing sector. It is aimed at supporting people over the age of 50 who are either at risk or redundancy or those looking to change career.

Tech Lancaster will support candidates towards roles such as Design Engineer to meet the need for digitisation in the Lancaster Electronics industry. The course is focused on supporting Ex-armed forces personal, graduates and underemployed groups.

In both the Greater Manchester and Lancashire area:

  • Additive and Digital Manufacturing – Made Smarter, Manchester Metropolitan University and Fabricon Design Ltd

This 12 day course will provide manufacturing employees with a solid grounding in all aspects of addictive manufacturing. Enabling progression into better paid roles e.g. AM Technician, AM Design Engineer.  The course will work with companies with a need to upskill employees to realise productivity benefits, with a particular focus on supporting women to enter the STEM industries.

  • Cyber Ready North West – CompTIA and Novacoast

The Greater Manchester and Lancashire based course will prepare candidates for cyber roles e.g. Entry Level Security Analyst. The course is fully accessible to people in-work and has been developed to improve the diversity of the cyber talent pipeline by supporting returners to tech, low skilled, graduates, ex-armed forces, women and BAME individuals.

In the Greater Manchester Area:

  • All Digital- Reform Radio and All Studios

A 10 week intensive programme to enable unemployed young adults to break into careers in content creation & digital marketing. The programme has been developed to support young people aged 18-30 with a specific focus on women, black and ethnic minorities and individuals from lower socio economic backgrounds.

  • Cyber Ready- Raytheon Professional Services with employer partners, Morson Projects, Salford Council, BUPA, Talk Talk and Sodexo

This project will deliver the core skills & knowledge essential for a cyber-security engineer including two technical qualifications combined with wider personal and professional skills. The project is offered in both full and part time options and has been developed with the aim of upskilling employees from existing IT roles and supporting women, over 50s, ex-armed forces and black & ethnic minorities into the cyber industry.

  • Digital Data Specialists Academy- Salford University, Salford Council and BUPA

This programme will train 30 digital data specialists to address the lack of skilled data analysts across the public & private sectors.  The programme is aimed at women returning to the sector, black & ethnic minorities and unemployed graduates.

  • The Stockport Digital Academy- Stockport Council, MadLab & Stockport College

The Stockport Digital Academy is a 12-week full time programme training individuals at the start of their career to succeed in a junior software developer and similar related technical roles. The Academy will support unemployed college Leavers and care Leavers.

  • Short Form Content Creation Transition Course- Sharp Futures and ITV

An online 8-20 week training course to upskill unemployed or low paid residents for short-form content creation roles e.g. as content producers. The course will support people out of work or in low paid work with a particular focus on people with disabilities, workers in retail/hospitality & freelancers who need to broaden their skill base to gain additional work.

  • Tech Equity- Tech Manchester, TAP, Heroworx & Malleable Mind, UKFast and M427

A ‘work readiness’ course for underemployed or unemployed women with a focus on black & ethnic minorities. The course includes three technical qualifications, organised with employer partners who have a significant requirement for junior network engineers.

Round 3

In this most recent funding round, projects have benefited from funding from the Department for Education Digital Bootcamp Trailblazer, which allowed us to expand the original programme to benefit a further 400 residents.

The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund provides accessible pathways into digital careers for underrepresented groups. These programmes come with guaranteed interviews for jobs in the region in specialist tech roles such as DevOps, Data Analysts, Cloud Engineers or Digital Marketers.

The following are the ten digital skills training programmes funded through the DfE Bootcamp Trailblazer in Lancashire and Greater Manchester. They are not open for applications at this time. 

1. Blackburn Rovers Digital Bootcamp- from Blackburn Rovers Football Club

The Blackburn Rovers Digital Bootcamp is a 12-week Instagram marketing course designed by industry experts to help participants develop their digital skills and grow their own start-up business or personal brand.

Find out more.

2. IN4.0 Talent Academy- from IN4.0

The IN4.0 Talent Academy will deliver a 12 weeks intensive programme where participants will gain a blend of technical, sales and personal skills and accreditations from Amazon Web Services. The Talent Academy will also help fast-track candidates through the recruitment process by setting up interviews for course participants with responsible employers who are looking for leaders of the future.

Find out more.

3. BuzzStart Talent from BuzzStart

Talent is a free, 12-week work experience and training programme designed to fast-track women (19+) into full-time employment with partner employers from across Lancashire & Greater Manchester. Participants will learn about Digital Marketing, Innovation and Leadership in a remote classroom and put their new skills and learning into practice in a virtual simulated social enterprise, “Digital Skills for Women CIC.”

Find out more. 

4. Your Return to Tech- from Tech Returners

The Return to Tech programme is an 8 week part-time course, offering the UK’s only fully accessible up-skilling route back into technology. The programme supports participants with the development of the technical and personal skills needed to re-enter the sector and prepare them for the right role for them.  The Return to Tech programme combines industry leading knowledge replicating real commercial environments, alongside career development and support from expert coaches.

Find out more.

5. Raytheon Cyber Academy – from Raytheon Professional Services with employer partners, Morson Projects, Bridge IT and Salford City Council

The Raytheon Cyber Academy will deliver the entry skills & knowledge essential for a junior Cyber Security Technologist. This includes two globally recognised technical qualifications, combined with wider personal and professional skills. The training course is provided via a range of flexible options, to suit any applicant looking to build a new career in Cyber Security.

The Cyber Academy welcomes applicants from all backgrounds, age 19 and upwards, from Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

Find out more.

6. DevOps Bootcamp- from QA

The DevOps Bootcamp is a 12-week, intensive course which will give participants the opportunity to take an industry-recognised certification in either AWS, GCP or Microsoft Azure. Course participants will benefit from support, soft skills training and mentoring as well as support from a recruitment manager who with help them to secure job interviews for local technical roles.

Find out more.

7. Digital Employment Programmes- from Generation

Generation will be running two Digital Employment programmes for 19-29 year olds from Greater Manchester and Lancashire who want to enter the digital sector.  Graduates of both programmes will be connected with hiring employers and we will help to arrange interviews.

  • Data Engineering – A 12 week techncial programme covering both the soft and technical skills required to be successful in a role such as Junior Data Engineer.  Students will also enhance their employabilty through CV and portfolio workshops plus guidance on networking and interviews.  The course will include a considerable amount of coding and we will therefore sign post students to explore some basic coding during the application process.

Find out more.

  • Digital Customer Success – A 5 week tech based customer service programme where students will develop their customer service skills in the context of a digital and tech based role.  This will involve learning new technical skills, plus probem solving and customer service.  Students will enhance their employability through CV / portfolio creation and interview skills.

Find out more.

8. Tech Discovery – Explorer a career in Technology

Tech Discovery is a 4-week exploratory programme for people from a range of backgrounds to discover the many varied opportunities in Technology and build fundamental skills in cyber security, databases, systems & networking, and software development.

The programme is delivered online, and applicants can apply for either the afternoon or evening live online course.

Find out more information.


Greater Manchester focused programmes:

9. AudioFORM- from Reform Radio

AudioFORM is a 12-week training programme focusing on all aspects of audio production including; podcasting, sound design, production, studio engineering, editing and radio drama. The training is led by industry professionals and gives hands on experience for anyone wanting to access a career in audio.

Find out more.

10. Digital Boost- from We are Digital

 Digital Boost is a 12 week digital marketing course, delivered online by experts in social media and marketing. Designed to help fill the digital skills gap, the course aims to provide diverse and excluded communities with higher-level digital marketing skills and the confidence they need to gain higher paid roles in digital industries.

Find out more.