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What is the Digital Skills Investment Programme?

Through the Digital Skills Investment Programme, we’re supporting over 1,200 learners to improve their digital skills. This will help our residents access good jobs with better earning potential and will support local businesses to gain the digital expertise they need. The West of England has a growing digital sector and an increasing demand for digital skills to drive recovery and growth, close the skills gap and fill vacancies.

The Digital Skills Investment Programme (DSIP) is a key part of the West of England Combined Authority’s Recovery Plan. The programme is worth £2m and will support access to digital skills training, helping build capacity to increase access to and take-up of adult education opportunities, and will provide innovative, bespoke training courses to address digital skills gaps.

For more about your privacy information, please visit the West of England Combined Authority privacy notice.

Digital Skills Investment Programme

Digital bootcamps

We've funded various digital bootcamps at different levels. You can find out more about these programmes here:

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College are running two projects as part of the DSIP.

In2 Sport: This follows the success we have recently seen of working with ex-offenders aiming to enter the fitness and leisure industry for employment. The sessions are bespoke to the learners and the industry they want to work in, and the programme has a clear and effective progression pathway.

Digital Refresh: Our second project will be delivered in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council, and between us we will be running 6-week bootcamps aimed at individuals wanting to progress into employment in either the education and training sector, or the health and social care sector.

The sessions will not only look to upskill participants digital skills in general, but they will learn about what and how digital skills are used within those 2 sectors. Employers will be involved in delivery and again we have clear progression routes available.

Please direct any queries to laura.gaiger@sgscol.ac.uk.

Future Makers is an exciting new hybrid training programme aimed at providing digital design, fabrication & construction skills that will equip people with the skills and experience needed to start a career or go on to further training in these industries.

Future Makers will be delivered by KWMC The Factory through a combination of online learning, in-person workshops, site visits to potential employers and ‘hands on’ experience of digital fabrication equipment. Participants will learn digital skills in industry standard design software, along with understanding design processes, prototyping ideas, developing transferable professional skills and building confidence.

The programme is aimed at those currently underrepresented in the digital design, fabrication and construction industries, including:

• Women and gender minorities
• People from ethnic minorities
• People from South and East Bristol who are long term unemployed or in precarious employment, and/or who have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19.

Further details coming soon.

In just 12 weeks participants will be provided with necessary skills to gain employment in marketing and business development roles.

This bootcamp starts with an introduction to marketing, progressing to sought after digital marketing skills including campaign planning, websites, search engine optimisation, social media, analytics for tracking and measurement plus enquiries and lead conversion.

This will all be complemented with personal and professional skills provision, plus employment support including techniques for job applications, mock interviews and employer networking events.

This bootcamp is for adults requiring new and additional skills to embark on a career in marketing or business development.

Visit Digital Marketing Bootcamp

NextGen Futures is a rapidly delivered training course in games-tech programming including Unity and Unreal, developed in response to the growth of games, VR, AR, animation, VFX, manufacturing and automation companies in the region, and related skills shortages in these growing industries.

Created by NextGen Skills Academy, Opposable Games and TechSpark, with support from a number of companies, organisations and initiatives in the region, the course will provide trainees with a rapid route into employment in a variety of exciting careers with local games and technology employers working on a global stage.

The programme will be free to trainees, and will include:

  • Online learning with face to face networking and events
  • Support for disadvantaged learners
  • Diverse and inclusive recruitment
  • Approximately 160 hours of learning

Find out more on the NextGen bootcamp by visiting NextGen bootcamp

This bootcamp will be delivered by UWE Bristol and is targeted at people with an interest in environmental management, air pollution, public health, carbon management or sustainability.

Topics covered will include Air Quality Management & Policy, Air Quality Monitoring and Modelling, Citizen Science, Data Analysis and Interpretation and Public Health & Inequalities.

The bootcamp is designed to have a direct impact on individuals’ employment prospects, provide training in the softer skills needed to successfully complete the training, as well as help to maintain future employment. Participants will be supported by academics and an employability consultant.

Register for the Clean Air Bootcamp

Digital Skills Bootcamps

Case studies

Open the tabs on the right to open case studies and find out how participants have benefitted from enrolling in Digital Skills Bootcamps.

I joined this Bootcamp as an educated unemployed mature lady in my 50s with a severe hearing impairment.  I have been struggling to find work as I can no longer hear over the telephone so I  had been seeking a career change that enabled me to use my strengths whilst not needing a telephone for communication.  I had long been interested in a digital media career but didn’t have a degree in the subject.

The Bootcamp was well run and presented an overview of all the areas you can experience in a digital marketing career. The teaching was excellent and I learned a great deal in a short space of time.  I felt very supported during my time on the bootcamp and the tutors always made themselves available for everyone.

More importantly, I was blown away with the assistance and support received from the course management team with regards my hearing disability.  They went out of their way to provide expensive hearing equipment and ensured that all lectures were captioned on my computer and mobile phone with various captioning app technologies.  The networking and company visits were incredible opportunities as well.

What has been an amazing outcome from this Bootcamp for me personally, is I have been out of work for a long time and have not been getting job interviews, The week the bootcamp ended I had a job interview as a marketing assistant, which I didn’t get and I have another interview this week for the role of a Digital Communications Officer.  These job opportunities speak volumes about how wonderful these skilled Bootcamps are in helping people back into work and improving their opportunities in the workplace.

I cannot recommend these skilled Bootcamps highly enough – they provide learners with a wonderful experience for growth and learning and the skills to get a job once the Bootcamp has ended.

For me, this course was exactly the right content at exactly the right time.

Following redundancy in 2020 and an on-going job search where I repeatedly made the final interview but not the chosen candidate, I decided that some upskilling to stay on the right side of the ‘digital divide’ would be helpful.  When I saw the ad for the bootcamp it seemed that it might well be the answer.

The cohort of students were friendly and from a mix of professional backgrounds and we were all able to contribute and learn from each other.  The tuition was outstanding and covered core planned elements as well as topics requested.  Group work on practical tasks and projects was valuable experience.

Ffion, a new small business owner, was directed to the Digital Marketing Bootcamp through her Future Bright career progression coach Karen. “Karen linked me up with the course manager. She has encouraged me to apply for a variety of different opportunities which have led to interesting outcomes so I trusted this course would benefit me”. Ffion is currently attending the Digital Marketing Bootcamp so that she can study marketing theory, which will in turn hopefully increase sales and develop her business.

Ffion has said that the knowledge gained from the Digital Marketing Bootcamp has been invaluable, “I feel significantly more aware and in control of the marketing aspect of my business. I really appreciate the mature stance that the teachers of the bootcamp take on attendance and coursework. I have enjoyed taking a practical and applied approach to learning with them. They encourage us to work as much as we can around our work and home life, which relieves any pressure. Due to this learning environment, I feel like I have been able to tailor the course to my own business and have enjoyed a creative approach to the work”.

Ffion is still on her journey with Future Bright as well and has said “I have found Future Bright a massively useful service. I have noticed that after every phone call with Karen I feel so much more confident and productive. I have had a great experience working with Karen. She has researched and found open calls for artist residencies and encouraged me to apply; assisted me with grant applications by proof reading; as well as being hugely supportive and kind. I will be sad when I have to part ways with Future Bright”.

I was having a bit of a ‘what am I doing with my life’ crisis and spoke to my boss about changing careers. She sent me a link to the course and I didn’t even tell anyone else that I applied because I really didn't think I would get a place. I’ve always loved gaming and wanted to get into the industry in some capacity, but prior to starting the course I thought programming would be too difficult.

In a few weeks, I’ll be entering my first game jam with some people on the course. I definitely

didn’t think I would have the courage to do a jam so early into learning, but having the support of the course makes it seem much less daunting. Generally, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy programming as much as I do. At the start of the course I really struggled with wanting to put all my energy into it, but not having the capacity to due to struggles with my health. I am now being a bit more kind to myself and trying to be proud of everything I have learnt so far. If I compare my skills to when the course first began, I’ve definitely learned a lot and I’m really proud of that.

My aspirations to get out of the course at the beginning were to network with people currently active in the Bristol games making world, so I can be a part of it.

The other main aspiration has been to prepare myself for the guaranteed job interview we get to partake in.  It has helped with other anxieties too such as public speaking, as I’ve been getting familiar with speaking on camera to explain things or ask for help.

Next I want to improve my Twitch professionalism and get people watching who are interested in games development, make my game more complex, help others achieve their multimedia goals and have a full time job in a company who create media for VR.