Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership are partnering with Northcoders, a Manchester-based software development training provider, to offer 24 fully-funded scholarships to people who are disadvantaged or underrepresented in the digital industry as part of the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund.

The scholarships are open to the following Greater Manchester or Lancashire residents: disadvantaged young people (19+) who may be unemployed or under-employed; those in low pay sectors; those displaced and at risk of redundancy due to Covid-19 and in need of retraining; the over-50s; ethnic minorities; women or gender minorities; and those with a disability or health condition.

The 14-week coding bootcamp will start on Tuesday 4 May. All learning will be delivered online, however, Northcoders’ main campus in Manchester city centre will be reopening on 4 May, so students will be able to learn in person for as many days a week as they feel comfortable.

During the course, recipients of the scholarships will learn all the skills they need to become a full stack software developer. Each bootcamp is an industry-led experience and is constantly updated to match the skills employers want. Northcoders also delivers a “Careers Week” which includes industry insight and preparation sessions, an in-depth CV workshop, tech interview advice and practice, and tech test insights.

Applications for the diversity scholarship can be made here.

Lou Cordwell, Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), said:

“Addressing the inequalities that the pandemic has amplified is a central part of our Economic Vision for Greater Manchester. The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund does vital work by providing under-represented and marginalised groups in the digital and tech sectors with accessible routes into digital employment.

“This scholarship programme will bridge the digital divide by giving residents valuable skills which can help them find meaningful employment. It also helps employers, boosting the talent pool of people with sought-after software development skills.”

The Fast Track Fund is a joint venture between Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership (LDSP), developed to address locally identified digital skills gaps and support Greater Manchester and Lancashire residents with accessible routes into digital employment. The Fund has been extended through the Department for Education Digital Bootcamps to maximise on this work, giving residents the opportunity to build up their digital skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.

Ann Dean MBE, Chair of the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership and LEP board director, said:

“Like everywhere, both Lancashire and Greater Manchester have been hit hard by the pandemic with redundancies and recruitment freezes impacting thousands across the region. Unfortunately, certain groups have been disproportionately affected and we understand that there is a real need for more retraining opportunities. Our aim with this scholarship programme is to directly help some of those people who have been negatively impacted so they are able to forge a new career.”

Amul Batra, Chief Partnerships Officer at Northcoders, added:

“We are delighted to be partnering with Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Lancashire Digital Skills on this scholarship programme. We are confident it will be a platform that will directly benefit individuals but also help to make tech a more diverse and inclusive sector.”

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