A new digital skills training programme has today been launched to help combat youth unemployment in four major UK cities.
Created by non-profit organisation Generation UK, the new Digital Customer Support (DCS) programme has been specifically-designed to support 18–29-year-olds in Birmingham, Manchester, London and Leeds in their search to find employment within the nation’s digital industries.
Redundancy and unemployment rates are soaring amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, with the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirming that young people are most likely to lose their jobs as redundancy rates increase fivefold on figures from the previous year, rising to 16.2% per 1,000. However, statistics point to a surge in e-commerce and remote services as a result of the pandemic, with customer support vacancies remaining high over the last 12 months, and more than 20,000 new roles expected to arise this year.
In light of this, Generation UK created the five-week, full-time DCS bootcamp, set to equip participants with the technical tools and know-how needed to land an entry-level role in customer support, all while leveraging the organisation’s expertise in behavioural and soft skill development. The aim is for the programme to equip more than 200 learners with the skills needed to thrive in customer support throughout 2021.
In other news: Exponential growth forecast in smart building market
Successful graduates could go on to work in startups, medium enterprises or larger corporations, offering user support via a range of channels such as email, phone, webchat and social media. The first cohort is set to enrol this month (February 2021), with the programme being delivered by trained instructors selected by Generation UK. Students will benefit from specialist career coaching for up to six months after completion, also gaining access to free online soft skills courses to prepare them for job applications.
In Manchester, omnichannel customer experience management platform Teleperformance is working alongside Generation as an employer partner. The company will provide full-time customer support positions to a selection of graduates, along with bespoke programme support in the form of preparation sessions for candidates, bi-weekly forums and monthly feedback calls to maximise success.
Following the launch in Manchester and Birmingham, subsequent opportunities will be offered in London and Leeds within the next few months. The initial programmes are partly funded by the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund – a joint venture between Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, and funded by the Department for Education (DfE) Digital Bootcamp Fund to address the growing digital skills gap across Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
Councillor Sean Fielding, GMCA employment, skills and digital lead, commented: “In Greater Manchester, we want everyone, whatever their age, location or situation, to be able to benefit from the opportunities digital brings. The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund was set up to help support our residents with accessible routes into digital employment, and this training programme is an excellent example of this. The exciting new programme will enable our residents who have been the hardest hit by this pandemic to gain valuable skills and support to gain meaningful employment.”