When Tom Mann first heard about the government-funded Skillsboat Campus, he knew he wanted the program.
After university, Tom struggled to find his feet. He was working as a kitchen porter, but his heart was never in it.
Tom, 31, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, says, “I’ll be in the job of peeling potatoes and loading the dishwasher, and when the team was great, I realized I had another career.”
While searching for a new position, Tom noticed that there were many well-paying jobs available in computer programming. So he borrowed some related books from the library and taught himself the basics of coding. “It was exciting – like learning a new language,” he says.
Still, without professional training or experience, Tom lacked the confidence to apply for programming jobs. Then he saw an ad for a three-month Skills Boat Camp in Coding.
Skillsboat Campus in England is a 16-week government-funded course for adults 19 years of age or older who are either employed or recently unemployed. Courses provide opportunities to learn skills in areas ranging from digital to construction and HGV driving. They aim for career-changing individuals like Tom and for those who want to climb the career ladder in areas where they already exist.
Tom’s Skills Bootcamp was provided by training and recruitment experts The Coders Guild. Twice weekly sessions, each lasting three hours, were online, which was convenient for Tom.
“All the classes were recorded, so if I missed one because of work, I can catch up later,” says Tom. “This flexibility was really useful. I’ve created two websites to show potential employers and share on LinkedIn.
The Skills Boat Campus aims to help participants quickly track their respective industry. After receiving his completion certificate in April 2021, Tom was invited to a two-year apprenticeship with the Daedalus Group as a software developer. Because apprenticeships are funded by the government and employers, they receive free tuition for a Level 4 qualification, equivalent to a foundation degree, as well as competitive wages and employee benefits such as vacation pay.
“I’m learning every day,” says Tom. Daedalus makes healthcare software, so it’s very useful. With the right skills, you won’t miss out on a job in IT – it’s an exciting industry full of opportunities. “
In addition to access to the Skillsboat campus, the government is providing the key to success to more people like Tom with the launch of new high-tech skills. HTQs are above A level or below T level but below the degree and are designed in collaboration with industry experts to equip students with the skills and knowledge that employers need. The first HTQs in digital will be available in colleges and universities from September 2022, with construction, health and science courses in 2023.
If you are not sure which opportunity might be right for you, the National Careers Service provides free, personalized advice and guidance to help you take the next step toward achieving your goals.
See for more information on these courses and other training schemes. gov.uk/skillsforlife