Free digital training programme launched to fast-track youth into digital careers

The Shift Click initiative has been designed to instil young people in Stockport and Greater Manchester with the skills needed to thrive in digital professions

A new digital training programme has been launched for young people in Stockport and Greater Manchester, designed to instil aspiring digital professionals with the skills needed to thrive in their future career.

The Shift Click programme is completely free of charge, delivered by Stockport Council and digital experts MadLab, and funded by the Fast track Digital Workforce Fund.

Shift Click participants benefit from expert support and guidance from experienced industry coaches, also gaining guaranteed job interviews for local specialist digital roles upon completion of the programme.

Initially, the programme is set to launch with two separate streams: an 8–10-week part-time Introduction to Coding course, and a 14-week full-time Developer programme. Both streams are open to any college leaver from Greater Manchester – even if the college course was not completed. They require no specific qualifications or prior experience, but successful applicants must demonstrate an interest in learning to code as well as a clear commitment to the training programme.

The purpose of the Shift Click initiative is to support Greater Manchester’s ambition to become a world-leading hub for digital, investing in a bold digital economy that actively encourages local businesses to invest and grow. The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund is steering this regional goal, empowering employers across all sectors in Greater Manchester and Lancashire to develop a diverse talent pool for jobs that require specialist digital skills.

The digital skills gap is a national issue, risking an estimated annual £141bn in GDP growth. According to a report by the Open University (OU), 9 in 10 UK organisations harbour a shortage of digital skills, and 37% of employees expect their roles to change significantly due to rapid advancements in technology. More than half of the companies surveyed feel that tech evolves too quickly for their business to keep up.

Authorities in the areas of Stockport and Greater Manchester are responding to the crisis, with the Greater Manchester Digital Strategy 2018–2020 demonstrating their dedication to closing the gap. Last year, an £8m Investment Pot for Skills was proposed to address the vital talent shortage and drive regional productivity, pledging to support the four key fields selected in the local industrial strategy: health and care innovation; advanced materials in manufacturing; digital, creative and media city; and clean growth.

Councillor Kate Butler, cabinet member for citizen focus and engagement, commented: “Digital is a key growth area both nationally and regionally, and there is currently a shortage of people with the right skills. We’re delighted to launch this new opportunity in Stockport for young people to gain the right skills and knowledge to enter the tech industry and benefit from the mentorship and experience of industry experts. If you’re interested in a career in the digital tech sector, then these free training courses might be what you are looking for.”

The Shift Click initiative is one of 14 across the Greater Manchester and Lancashire region, all of which were successful in receiving financial support from the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund – a collaboration between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership (LDSP). This innovative scheme strives to address local digital skills gaps, promoting accessible pathways into digital careers, especially for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Programmes are offered at no cost to participants and do not affect Universal Credit claims. Places are limited, so click here to register your interest.

Image source: Shift Click

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