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Stockport Council launches digital training initiative

Local authority Stockport Council has launched a programme aimed at training young people in digital skills to give them a better chance at entering digital roles

Stockport Council has launched a new digital training initiative aimed at giving young people the skills they need to go into digital roles.

Dubbed Shift Click, the new training programme is free for young people across Stockport and Greater Manchester, and will comprise of two courses, including an introduction to coding and a developer programme.

Councillor Kate Butler, cabinet member for citizen focus and engagement, said: “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 or tech sector, then these free training courses might be what you’re looking for.”

There’s a technology skills gap in the UK, with not enough skilled workers available to fill organisations’ empty digital roles – a problem that many people believe will be exacerbated by Brexit.

Tech talent also tends to gravitate towards the London Bubble, with 40% of UK tech talent residing in the capital, though many tech-focused businesses, such as Moonpig and Amazon, are now opening hubs in the Manchester area.

Shift Click’s programmes are aimed at young people, such as college leavers, in the Greater Manchester area, though applicants can select the 30+ age range on the online application form, and are designed to provide the skills needed for a digital role in a short amount of time. No prior experience is required to apply, and the courses are delivered online.

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The part-time Introduction to Coding programme will take place over eight to 10 weeks, and include skills such as building web pages with HTML, an introduction to JavaScript and how to use tools such as GitHub.

The full-time Developer programme will take place over 14 weeks, and will teach skills such as the foundations of software development, back-end and front-end development, and inclusive design.

Those who take part in the Developer programme will use agile project development to contribute towards a number of projects that can be used as part of a portfolio, and will be given access to work placements and interviews once they have completed the course.

Both programmes will see participants supported by coaches and industry experts, and are delivered by Stockport Council in collaboration with MadLab and the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund.

Shift Click is part of several projects across Greater Manchester and Lancashire that have been supported by the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund, which was set up by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership to tackle digital skills gaps across the Greater Manchester area.

The £3m fund was set up in early 2020 to fund 14 projects that are aimed at helping more than 600 residents in the Greater Manchester and Lancashire area to create accessible routes into digital roles.

The fund is aimed specifically at helping under-represented or disadvantaged groups into tech roles by helping the development of projects to support businesses and residents plug local skills gaps in creative, digital and tech roles.

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