£3 million skills investment in Devon & Cornwall bootcamps


Businesses in Devon and Cornwall can gain access to a range of crucial skills following the launch of over 50 new skills bootcamps in the region.

More than 1,000 places are available on the Train4Tomorrow Skills Bootcamps, which are being delivered by Devon County Council in partnership with Cornwall County Council.

It’s all part of a £3 million investment in skills which will offer a range of fully-funded training courses of up to 16 weeks across a variety of sectors including Digital, Technical, Construction, Green Skills, Healthcare, Hospitality and Professional Services.

Courses are open to adults aged 19 or over who are looking to improve their skills and employability. And a guaranteed interview is offered for those seeking new employment.

The latest Skills Bootcamps being provided include: Modern Construction Methods, Regenerative Farming, Data Analyst, Digital Skills for the Workplace, Cloud Computing, Digital Marketing, Marine Engineering, Welding, Civils and Groundworks, Electrical Vehicles, Retrofit, Floating Offshore Renewables, Clinical Pathways, Long-term Health Conditions, Project Management, Coaching and Mentoring, Hospitality management and many more.

The Devon & Somerset Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) has been put in place to make sure local businesses have access to a skilled labour market equipped for the future of work.

Helen Hart, project lead for Devon and Somerset LSIP, said: “During the LSIP process, employers consistently told us they need short, focused programmes of upskilling for their teams. 

“Bootcamps meet this requirement perfectly as they can be tailored exactly to the needs of the business and delivered flexibly to suit the participants.

“Filling skills gaps is vital for our future prosperity and for giving young people the best chance possible of a successful career in our region.”

Businesses can utilise Train4Tomorrow Skills Bootcamps for staff development at minimal cost. The government funds the costs of the courses for employers wishing to use the training as a means of upskilling employees – covering 70% for large employers and 90% for SME’s.

To date, more than 1,300 learners across Devon and Cornwall have attended a Skills Bootcamp and started careers in the growing tech and digital sectors.

Nearly 1,000 people are employed in this industry in South Devon alone – producing £100 million for the local economy each year.

Cllr Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said: “The training provided through the Skills Bootcamps is suitable for anyone looking to change occupations or further their career. The innovative courses have been developed with the help of local businesses, so it’s tailored to meet the skills needed in our region.

“Learners have the opportunity to secure new employment, self-employed learners can expand their skills and pursue new opportunities while employed learners can increase responsibilities within an existing role, with employer support.

“We’re extremely proud to offer these opportunities for individuals to acquire new skills and help to improve job prospects for all in our region. In the previous wave of bootcamps more than 50% of learners were aged over 35, with 16% of all learners over 50 years of age. No matter what stage of your career you’re at, it’s never too late to learn.”

Delivery partners in the Train4Tomorrow Skills Bootcamps are the Apricot Centre, BIT Group, Cambridge Spark, City College Plymouth, Cornwall College, DPN, Exeter College, OnCourse South West, Petroc College, Primed Talent, The Construction Skills People, Truro & Penwith College, YTKO.

Click here to check out your eligibility and find out more about Skills Bootcamps across Devon and Cornwall.

Train4Tomorrow Case Studies

Jo Harper

Jo Harper is self-employed and runs his own tea plantation near Ashburton. Jo completed the Regenerative Agriculture Skills Bootcamp which he described as “one of the most valuable courses I’ve done for a very, very long time.”

The course was one day a week for 12 weeks, in person at the Apricot Centre CIC in Totnes, where he was able to learn new skills which he is putting into practice at his business.

Jo said: “The business really took off a few years ago. There were certain things within regenerative agriculture practice that we were really struggling with, and we wanted to implement but didn’t quite have the knowledge or support.

“There are multiple things we’ve done off the back of the course – we’ve changed some of our practice on how we manage and grow crops and organically manage weed issues, we’ve looked at improving how we capture and store carbon on the farm and reducing our carbon footprint by developing techniques that mean we use less fossil fuels.

“Even if you feel you’re not so academic or you don’t have access to IT equipment the chances are the provider will help create a work around for you. It’s great for young learners but also older learners who are looking for a change in direction or to upskill.”

Jordan Cooper

Jordan Cooper, from Exeter, completed the Digital Marketing and Communications Skills Bootcamp at Exeter College to help pursue her long-held ambition for a career in marketing.

The 16-week course was one day a week and a mixture of in-person and online learning, covering a variety of topics including media platforms, SEO and Google IQ. Jordan also had the opportunity to complete further qualifications along the way.

She said: “It’s a fantastic programme, it definitely is. The Skills bootcamps programme means that you don’t have to get into debt to pursue the career that you want.

“It was easy to balance the course with my day-to-day. The staff at the college were accommodating and helped us fit the learning around our lives rather than vice-versa – they were really supportive.

“The in-person sessions were beneficial, and it was nice because there were people on the course from entirely different backgrounds – public, private and charity sectors as well as self-employed people who were looking to up their skills for the benefit of their own business.”

Main picture courtesy of Exeter College