Residents living and working in Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland are set to benefit from an additional £9,000,000 cash injection for a career development scheme.

The North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) has secured the multi-million pound funding for the next phase of its ‘Skills Bootcamps’ programme in the city-region. The funding, from the Department for Education, comes as a big boost to the initiative – designed to help local people find employment in growing industries, change careers, or get the skills they need to move into a better job. Skills Bootcamps provides adults in the ‘North of Tyne’ region with access to sought-after training and a fast-track interview for good quality work. The scheme benefits employers by enabling them to fill specific skills shortages and team vacancies – increasing productivity within their organisations.

Andy Smith, 35, from Blyth, Northumberland, is just one of the many residents to have already benefited from the Bootcamps. Before the pandemic, Andy was a self-employed landscape gardener with a thriving business. When COVID-19 hit, Andy was forced to close the company he had worked so hard to build over the last ten years. He soon found himself applying for Universal Credit and relying on support from a local foodbank. “I felt completely lost”, he explained. “It was probably the lowest point in my life. It certainly didn’t feel good.” With the landscape gardening business becoming increasingly challenging, Andy considered returning to a previous career in construction, but knew his previous knowledge and skills would be out of date. Thanks to a free, four-week Skills Bootcamp in construction and machinery, Andy could renew his certification, refresh his training, and learn new skills. He later landed a new job as a Trainee Heavy Plant Operations Instructor, at £30,000 a year with RMF. Reflecting on the support he received as part of the programme, he said: “The Skills Bootcamps are a great way to try something new and open a lot of doors.”

Group of people in high vis outfits standing in front of a dumper truck

Councillor Karen Kilgour, NTCA Cabinet Member for Education, Inclusion and Skills, said: “Our Skills Bootcamps programme goes from strength to strength. This funding boost will support even more adults across the region to take advantage of these free courses and get on the path to sustainable careers in key growth sectors. The programme also benefits employers by helping them to recruit a diverse workforce with the technical skills their businesses need.”

In the last 12 months, the NTCA has helped fund a wide range of Skils Bootcamp courses in subjects such as digital marketing and cyber security, as well as low carbon heating, installation of green technologies, and rail engineering, to name a few. The programme supports growing areas of the local economy – including digital, tech, and green industries – and reinforces commitments made by elected Metro Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, and the NTCA Cabinet to get the region to net zero.

Mayor Driscoll said: “This funding boost is a massive win for local residents across the region. The pandemic, and now the cost-of-living crisis, has had a devastating impact on people’s jobs and businesses. These bootcamps help get many of those worst-affected back on their feet while ensuring we have the right people with the right skills to support our rapidly growing local industries.”

For more information about Skills Bootcamps please visit: