The Digital Skills Academy has launched a brand new Software Developer bootcamp designed for adults aged 19+. The Academy, which is led by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, will be offering the specialised courses that allow learners to get an understanding of the key terms, principles and challenges of coding.

Upon successfully completing the course, learners will be able to begin their software developer career journey. After the bootcamp students will be able to move onto apprenticeships with the Academy.

The three week intensive course has been written by software engineers from Google, Microsoft and Amazon. It is a practical and hands-on experience that will challenge the learner to think like a developer, but by the end of it they will be ready to make a real impact as a trainee software engineer.

Matt Smith, Director of the Digital Skills Academy said, “The bootcamp is the first of many that we will be holding at our brand new state-of-the-art campus located at the Coventry University Technology Park. There is an ever growing demand in the West Midlands for digitally skilled workforces as new technologies are introduced as well as evolving processes.”

“Our Software Developer pathway will enable learners to start their career journey with us. The bootcamp will provide an overview of coding, how to share information on the internet, learn about how digital information is stored in computers, an introduction to programming, big data & privacy and how to build apps. Graduates will also be able to build and test high quality code across front end, logic and database layers.

“We have a bank of employers within the West Midlands who require skilled software developers to join their workforces. We can help and support our learners in securing them with an apprenticeship interview as well as providing access to live job opportunities as they arise.

Software Developer bootcamp details:

Date:                          20/07/20
Course length:        3 weeks
Location:                  Digital Skills Academy campus (Coventry University Technology Park)
Timetable:                full-time classes, 9:00am to 4:30pm with 6 lessons delivered each day

Matt Smith adds: “The scope of the Digital Skills Academy was to offer a pathway to ‘in demand’ digital jobs in software development so that businesses can access a pipeline of people with higher level skills and address gaps within their workforce. In addition, students can access opportunities to improve the types of digital skills on which every business increasingly relies.

“With an ever increasing demand for tech savvy individuals, there has never been a better time for learners to focus on upskilling their technical capabilities and the Digital Skills Academy is here to help.”

The Academy has been set up to provide high quality industry teaching on a flexible basis at a range of levels. Courses are offered free to people who live within a West Midlands postcode area. Ideal for those new to IT or inspired to join or progress in the sector, the Academy offers routes that will help learners at home and in their career.

To find out further information or to book your place on to the Software Developer bootcamp, please call: 0330 058 3000, email: enquiries@digital-skillsacademy.co.uk.

Download the Software Developer bootcamp factsheet.

Software Developer Bootcamp

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A new academy offering free courses in digital skills is poised to help support economic recovery following the coronavirus crisis as the pace of digitisation gathers momentum. The Digital Skills Academy, from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, which was launched to help businesses across the West Midlands to transform their workforces, is expecting demand to increase dramatically thanks to digital skills transformation seen during lockdown.

Courses, including CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) and apprenticeships at a range of levels are available online and will also run from 20 July 2020 at the Academy’s base which is being set up at the Coventry University Technology Park in the heart of the city’s technology zone.

Matt Smith, Director of the Digital Skills Academy said, “The digital sector is booming, and we have seen over recent months how businesses that use technology creatively can succeed under even the most difficult circumstances. GPs are moving to video consultations, up to 60 per cent of the adult population has been working productively at home, and there has been a huge increase in e-commerce with online retail sales increasing by around one third compared with the same period a year ago.

Never before has the importance of digital inclusion been more apparent or more urgent. The drive to get the remaining one fifth of the UK population who currently don’t use the internet to join the online community represents a significant challenge.

“There has never been a better time to focus on upskilling your technical capabilities and the Digital Skills Academy is here to help. Whether you are new to IT or inspired to join or progress in the sector, we can offer routes that will help you at home and in your career.”

The Digital Skills Academy is helping students like Su Green after redundancy provided the trigger to update her IT skills and improve her confidence through an online learning programme. Su, from Sutton Coldfield, said, “After losing my job, I was looking online to find a course that would help showcase my skills and give my CV a boost. Being self-taught, I didn’t have the qualifications in IT to demonstrate my knowledge and capabilities and the CompTIA Fundamentals course seemed an ideal solution. Because I live in the West Midlands Combined Authority postcode area, the course was free for me which was a bonus.

“It is a beginners’ course, so you don’t need any prior knowledge but my experience using technology at work gave me a really good starting point. For me, learning the correct terminology was the biggest benefit and I have really expanded on my knowledge. During lockdown, the course has been ideal because I have not needed to go into college. I studied for about an hour a day over around six weeks and my assessor regularly checked in with me by phone to see how I was getting on or I needed any help. The course is easy to follow with multiple choice answers and feedback available if you get something wrong at first. You can also practice taking the exam before you complete it, so you do feel very well-prepared.”

The CompTIA Fundamentals course covers the basics of computing, systems, data and troubleshooting, applications, and software work, installing printers and other devices, and how establish a wireless network. It also covers how to use databases and the basics of reducing security risks.

Tech and digital is the fifth largest sector in the West Midlands economy with nearly 14,000 tech and digital businesses, more than any other combined authority area in the country. West Midlands mayor, Andy Street, has described digital as the ‘golden thread’ that links all industries providing future 21st century job opportunities.

Matt Smith added, “With our courses being offered free to people living in a West Midlands postcode area, there has never been a better time to get online and start learning.”

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Su Green – CompTIA IT Fundamentals

Redundancy has provided Su Green with the catalyst to update her IT skills and improve her confidence through the online learning course, CompTIA IT Fundamentals. Having worked most recently as an office manager, Su, from Sutton Coldfield, is highly experienced in business administration and customer service. She has taught herself how to use productivity software such as Microsoft Office and wanted to find a course that would demonstrate to prospective employers that she was competent and capable.

Su said, “After losing my job, I was looking online to find a course that would help showcase my skills and give my CV a boost. Being self-taught, I didn’t have the qualifications in IT to demonstrate my knowledge and capabilities and the CompTIA IT Fundamentals course seemed an ideal solution. Because I live in the West Midlands Combined Authority postcode area, the course was free for me which was a bonus.

“It is a beginners’ course, so you don’t need any prior knowledge but my experience using technology at work gave me a really good starting point. For me, learning the correct terminology was the biggest benefit and I have really expanded on my knowledge. During lockdown, the course has been ideal because I have not needed to go into college. I studied for about an hour a day over around six weeks and my assessor regularly checked in with me by phone to see how I was getting on or I needed any help. The course is easy to follow with multiple choice answers and feedback available if you get something wrong at first. You can also practice taking the exam before you complete it, so you do feel very well-prepared.”

The course covers the basics of computing, systems, data and troubleshooting, applications, and software work, installing printers and other devices, and how establish a wireless network. It also covers how to use databases and the basics of reducing security risks.

Su Green

Su has now completed the course and is currently practicing before she takes her final exam. She is considering moving on the next level in her studies and is sure that the qualification she gains will help her in the search for a new job.

Find out more about how you can study the CompTIA IT Fundamentals course.

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A new academy offering free courses in digital skills has echoed the Department for Education’s call for millions of furloughed workers to take up online training. The Digital Skills Academy, from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, is helping to pave the way into careers in the burgeoning digital sector. It is also offering opportunities for everyone to improve their baseline digital skills during the coronavirus lockdown.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has urged people on furlough to take advantage of the many free courses available to boost their skills and build their confidence so that they are well-placed to succeed after the lockdown period. According to the government’s Skills Toolkit, the number of digital jobs grew almost three times as quickly as other jobs, and roles that require digital skills pay around one third more than others.

Matt Smith, Director of the Digital Skills Academy said, “The digital sector is booming, and we have seen over recent weeks how businesses that use technology creatively can succeed under even the most difficult circumstances. Remote working is only likely to grow now that it has been tried and tested during the coronavirus lockdown.

Never before has the importance of digital inclusion been more apparent or more urgent. The drive to get the remaining one fifth of the UK population who currently don’t use the internet to join the online community represents a significant challenge.

“There has never been a better time to focus on upskilling your technical capabilities and the Digital Skills Academy is here to help. Whether you are new to IT or inspired to join or progress in the sector, we can offer routes that will help you at home and in your career.

“The Digital Skills Academy was set up primarily to offer a pathway to ‘in demand’ digital jobs in software development so that businesses can access a pipeline of people with higher level skills and address gaps within their workforce. In addition, students can access opportunities to improve the types of digital skills on which every business increasingly relies.

“With our courses being offered free to people living in a West Midlands postcode area, there has never been a better time to get online and start learning.”

Courses, including CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) and apprenticeships at a range of levels will be available only online at first and later at the Academy’s base which is being set up the Coventry University Technology Park in the heart of the city’s technology zone, or on employers’ own premises if required.

The Digital Skills Academy will work in partnership with employers to make sure its training offer is highly relevant and that it is able to support them by providing skilled individuals to boost their workforce.

The new academy has been designed to provide high quality industry-relevant teaching on a flexible basis at a range of levels creating a clear technical education pathway that takes account of individuals’ starting points. Employers will be involved in the delivery of masterclasses as part of the academy offer and students will be able to access live job opportunities as they arise.

Digital skills

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A new Digital Skills Academy, set to be established in Coventry, has announced the appointment of a director to lead its offer to the digital sector. Matthew Smith, who formerly ran his own training business delivering database design, networking and cloud-based solutions, takes up his appointment with immediate effect.

Matt has more than 13 years’ experience within the further education sector and has worked at senior management level within several large college groups. He established his own business as a private training provider in 2007 and has since progressed to managing a range of provision from entry level studies right up to Level 7. He is passionate about innovation and enjoys developing new training programmes that make an impact on the lives of students and the success of employers.

On joining the Digital Skills Academy, Matt said, “I am delighted to be heading up this new specialist provision that is designed to put businesses in the best position to progress and grow within the digital sector. From my own experience, I know how much success depends on the talent within your team. People are the greatest asset of any tech company because it is their ability to apply the skills, harness the creativity and bring to life innovative ideas that underpins every amazing technological achievement.

“I am fully committed to working with the digital sector to ensure that the Digital Skills Academy provides them with access to the talent they need, and the flexibility to respond to changing priorities. One of my first jobs is to reach out to employers within the digital space because I want to make sure that our offer meets their complex needs. The Digital Skills Academy will be stronger as more businesses get involved and provide valuable input. I firmly believe our provision, and the sector as a whole, will be stronger if we work together.”

The Digital Skills Academy was set up following a successful bid led by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College to secure funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in response to growing momentum for the fast-paced digitisation of the UK.

The Academy offers students a pathway to ‘in demand’ digital jobs including software development so that businesses can access a pipeline of people with higher level skills and address gaps within their workforce. In addition, students will be able to access opportunities to improve the types of digital skills on which every business increasingly relies.

Courses and apprenticeships at a range of levels are available online and will also be offered at the Academy’s base which is being set up the Coventry University Technology Park in the heart of the city’s technology zone, or on employers’ own premises if required.

The West Midlands is a key national centre for the tech and digital sector with nearly 14,000 tech and digital businesses, five per cent of the national total and more than any other combined authority area in the country.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College said, “I am delighted to welcome Matt to this important post. As we have seen during the coronavirus lockdown period, businesses that can harness the power of technology are able to be much more agile and the same is true for individuals within their careers. Investment in digital skills is crucial to future-proof our region’s workforce and continue to help establish the West Midlands as the UK’s leading tech hub.

“The WMCA’s funding for the Digital Skills Academy is a huge step in making sure we are providing citizens with every opportunity to thrive in tech roles, and we look forward to seeing how it makes a real and positive difference to the people and businesses of the West Midlands.”

The Digital Skills Academy will work in partnership with employers to make sure its training offer is highly relevant and that it is able to support them by providing skilled individuals to boost their workforce. Employers will be involved in the delivery of masterclasses as part of the academy offer and students will be able to access live job opportunities as they arise.

The new academy has been designed to provide high quality industry-relevant teaching on a flexible basis at a range of levels creating a clear technical education pathway that takes account of individuals’ starting points. Courses are free for those living within a WMCA postcode area.

New Director appoointed

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A new Digital Skills Academy, set to be established in Coventry, has launched its new website offering online access to training for the digital sector.

Following a successful bid led by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College to secure funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority, the Digital Skills Academy is being launched in response to growing momentum for the fast-paced digitisation of the UK and an acknowledgement across all sectors that digital skills increasingly sit at the heart of all careers.

The Academy will offer students a pathway to ‘in demand’ digital jobs in software development and cyber security so that businesses can access a pipeline of people with higher level skills and address gaps within their workforce. In addition, students will be able to access opportunities to improve the types of digital skills on which every business increasingly relies.

Courses and apprenticeships at a range of levels will be available online at first and later at the Academy’s base which is being set up the Coventry University Technology Park in the heart of the city’s technology zone, or on employers’ own premises if required.

The West Midlands is a key national centre for the tech and digital sector with nearly 14,000 tech and digital businesses, five per cent of the national total and more than any other combined authority area in the country.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, has described digitisation as ‘the golden thread’ that runs through all industries to provide 21st century jobs. He said, “Investment in digital skills will help us to future-proof our region’s workforce and continue to help establish the West Midlands as the UK’s leading tech hub.

“The WMCA’s funding for the Digital Skills Academy is a huge step in making sure we are providing citizens with every opportunity to thrive in tech roles, and we look forward to seeing how it makes a real and positive difference to the people and businesses of the West Midlands.”

The Digital Skills Academy will work in partnership with employers to make sure its training offer is highly relevant and that it is able to support them by providing skilled individuals to boost their workforce.

Its location at Coventry University’s Technology Park campus will bring the benefits of working in close collaboration with a modern and innovative university group that continues to grow and evolve. The university is a leading institution for education and student experience, international student mobility, entrepreneurship and world leading research.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, and skills lead on the Digital Skills Academy board, said, “We hope that the new website will provide inspirational opportunities for people to engage with this new provision remotely and we look forward to opening our doors to other students in the near future. It is vital that the West Midlands’ workforce is equipped to meet the challenges of the fast-paced development in digital technologies.

“The Academy will play a pivotal role in delivering skilled individuals to the digital sector in highly specialised areas such as software development and cyber security. Building on this, we acknowledge that everybody needs digital skills at some level to participate productively within the workplace so provision will enable individuals to enhance their career progression opportunities in whatever industry they work.

“We’re pleased to offer online courses immediately and will be officially launching the Academy at its premises on the Coventry University Technology Park once we reach the conclusion of current social distancing measures.”

The new academy has been designed to provide high quality industry-relevant teaching on a flexible basis at a range of levels creating a clear technical education pathway that takes account of individuals’ starting points. Employers will be involved in the delivery of masterclasses as part of the academy offer and students will be able to access live job opportunities as they arise.

Marion added, “We aim to ensure that the Digital Skills Academy provides opportunities for people in the West Midlands Combined Authority area who are keen to return to work or progress in their current careers with additional qualifications. We’re confident that this approach will provide a valuable boost to careers within the industry and promote high skilled and high wage employment.”

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CompTIA, the leading technology industry association, has today announced that it is working with North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College to provide digital skills across the West Midlands.

Following a grant from the Digital Skills Funding pot available from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College has launched the IT & Digital Skills Training Academy. The Academy aims to deliver vital digital skills training to the West Midlands area. People living in the area will be able to benefit from free training courses that enable them to either join one of the growing number of digital and IT roles available in the region or by upskilling so that they can progress in their field.

The first courses being offered by the Academy will be a series of blended courses built on CompTIA’s IT Fundamentals, A+ and Security+ certifications. Each certification provides students with the fundamental skills needed to start a career in technology.

With recent research from CompTIA finding Birmingham to be one of the UK’s best tech hubs, this course presents an opportunity for residents of the West Midlands, to take full advantage of the potential career paths the city – and beyond – has to offer. The courses, which run over 12 weeks, are accessible online and enable students to gain qualifications in everything from technology concepts to managing devices. This approach makes the course all-inclusive, ensuring that adult learners with additional responsibilities still have the chance to develop their skills according to their own schedule. Students can then progress on to apprenticeships or on to higher level courses.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said, “Investment in digital skills will help us future-proof our region’s workforce and continue to help establish the West Midlands as the UK’s leading tech hub.

“The WMCA’s funding for the IT and Digital Training Academy is a huge step in making sure we are providing citizens with every opportunity to thrive in tech roles, and we look forward to seeing the course make a real and positive difference to the people and businesses of the West Midlands.” Graham Hunter, VP Skills Certification at CompTIA, said: “Giving people the skills to thrive in an IT role is at the heart of CompTIA’s certifications and this partnership gives us the opportunity to maximise the impact we have across the UK. The West Midlands area has a lot to gain and a lot to contribute to the IT industry and this course will allow individuals and businesses alike to reach their full digital potential.”

The IT Fundamentals certification provides an introduction to basic IT knowledge and skills, nwhile A+ and Security+ develop these skills further with training on critical IT support and cybersecurity topics respectively. As industry-recognised credentials, trusted by employers to identify individuals who can thrive in technical roles, a combination of the three certifications provides students with a solid set of digital skills that enables them to move straight into tech roles.

Sally Denning, Director of Adult Learning at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, said, “We have received funding from the WMCA to help deliver our vision to support and grow a world-class digital workforce. Funding the delivery of CompTIA qualifications will help to meet our vision of upskilling individuals who are looking for a career in IT or who wish to progress in the IT industry”.

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