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Digital Skills Bootcamp Taster Session: What I learned

By a Marketing Assistant at The Specialists Hub

This afternoon, I sat in on a taster session run by Jaime (Heroworx) with contributions from Naomi (MMU) and Len (The Specialists Hub), and it really opened my eyes. Prior to the session, I had a minimal amount of knowledge as to what these bootcamps entailed – most of my knowledge was in regards to our input as a company, but even so, my knowledge was limited due to Len and Bob pulling it off solo.

The hour-long session was incredibly informative, covering everything you need to know concisely and at the perfect pace. Jaime noted the lack of questions at the end and

suggested it was because between the three of them, they’d already been answered: I think they were right! No stone was left unturned, and I left feeling like I had everything I needed if I was a bootcamp applicant.

The session started by outlining that the course is fully funded by the government’s Department of Education as part of their Plan for Jobs scheme. Most of us know that the need for digital, tech and cyber skills is continuously growing, but the pandemic has enhanced this gap and made the need for such skills even more crucial. Len offered a huge statistic: a whopping 3.5m people are needed in cyber jobs, just within the UK.

As well as being fully funded, the bootcamps are also flexible, containing 15 hours a week of taught sessions (lectures, labs, or workshops), and 3 hours a day of self-directed learning, which could include working on your portfolio or research in preparation for your next session. The part-time nature allows learners to honour other commitments at the same time as upskilling for free!

The bootcamps seemed to me like the perfect starting spot for those wanting to crack the industry. As Jaime pointed out, what they provide is a toolbox of foundational skills that are crucial in order to be effective in a technical environment. In the process of building the toolbox, InDigital1 sought out direct feedback from employers currently seeking to employ.

1 InDigital is the name under which Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester Digital, The Heroworx Institute & The Specialists Hub came together in the Northwest, who along with 13 other universities and partners formed a national Institute of Coding consortium.

 

This allowed the skills included in the bootcamps to be tailored directly to the needs of certified providers, enhancing the likelihood of employment for bootcamp attendees.

Picture 1
Picture 1

Potential pathways bootcamp learners can pursue. Source: Taster Session Slides 04/11/21

 

It’s not just technical skills that are on offer either. The bootcamps provide many opportunities to develop soft skills, which are often overlooked in the tech industry but are growing more and more important, such as good communication, professionalism, confidence, and teamwork. This, paired with the sector-specific skills, are sure to fast-track you straight to interviews.

A fantastic feature included in the bootcamps are guaranteed interviews by week 11. The words “guaranteed interview” to most of us is like a shining beacon of light, especially when considering how competitive it is just trying to be shortlisted for an interview in the first

place! What’s more, in week 6 of the bootcamp, there are mock interviews running to

ensure everyone is prepared, comfortable and confident.

Picture 2
Picture 2

 

Some of the apprenticeships on offer. Source: Taster Session Slides 04/11/21 

 

To summarise, I learnt a lot in that very short hour. The key elements that Jaime, and in turn, InDigital stressed was the capacity for innovation, collaboration, and personal growth within every learner. They’re predicting at minimum of 75% of bootcamp graduates in a job role within 6 months of course completion, which would be a rewarding result for everyone. I think the only question left to ask is: what are you waiting for?

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