Digital Innovators secures WMCA funding to launch digital skills programme

Digital Innovators has secured funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to provide free training to support low wage and unemployed individuals into work. 

The Digital Innovators Skills Programme will provide adult learners with digital and employability skills, using real life project-based experiences from employers, and mentoring support to help them make the transition to new roles. The aim is to enable trainees to combine their unique skills with effective digital tools so they can access new employment opportunities and help bridge the current digital skills gap.

Digital Innovators is already delivering a similar programme for 16-19 year olds, in partnership with Solihull College & University Centre, which has delivered excellent results in improving confidence, applying digital skills and securing apprenticeships for students.

The WMCA project, supported by the Digital Retraining Fund ‘Beat the Bots’, will deliver a tailored version of the Digital Innovators Skills Programme for three years, training up to 100 adult learners each year. The training will be led by Pete Cripps, who joined Digital Innovators in 2019 following a successful career at IBM, and will offer a blend of online learning, cloud-based collaboration and face-to-face activities (where feasible). Participants can nominate themselves for the training, while employers are also being encouraged to give eligible employees the chance to build on existing skills. 

The Digital Innovators Skills Programme combines core employability skills such as creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication, with practical, real-life business challenges set by local employers. Learners will work in project teams alongside employers to problem-solve a genuine business challenge, allowing participants to develop their skills while demonstrating their capabilities directly to potential employers.

Mick Westman, Managing Director of Digital Innovators, said:

“We are excited to have the opportunity to expand our programme. Our approach begins by helping people identify and unlock their innate skills and potential. We build their confidence so that they are able to contribute fully and implement the skills they develop on our programme in a live work environment.”

The programme is due to start in September and will be available to eligible participants across the WMCA area, free of charge. Work is underway to enable the programme to be delivered remotely if necessary, with full and part time options available for those with existing work or caring commitments.

Mick Westman added:

“We are acutely aware that the longer-term implications of the current pandemic mean jobs are likely to be even harder to find. Through this programme we want to give our trainees the best chance at developing skills which will put them in a much stronger position to launch or reignite their career.

“We are particularly keen to hear from employers who have a challenge in their business and would benefit from some fresh ideas to help them find innovative and workable solutions.”

Register your interest in the WMCA Digital Innovators Skills Programme

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