Generation UK has unveiled the details of a five-week digital bootcamp designed to equip 18 to 29 year-olds with the requisite skills

Generation UK, a youth employment non-profit organisation, has unveiled the details of a five-week digital bootcamp designed to equip 18 to 29 year-olds with the requisite skills to meet growing industry vacancies due to the global pandemic.

Backed by the Department for Education, local authorities, teleperformance and private sponsors, Generation UK’s ‘Digital Customer Support’ (DCS) programme will be launched in four major UK cities: Birmingham, Manchester, London and Leeds.

The programme will support 18 to 29 year-olds in accessing growing employment opportunities amidst rising redundancies for Britain’s young people.

In the latest unemployment figures from the Office for National Statistics, young people were reported as most at risk of losing their jobs as the redundancy rate increased fivefold on the previous year to 16.2 per 1,000. With a surge in e-commerce and remote services resulting from the pandemic, vacancies in customer support roles have remained high and are in fact growing, with over 20,000 new roles expected to be created in 2021 (according to data sourced from Jobfeed by Textkernel). This statistic is based on a 70 per cent recovery from 2020, relative to 2019 levels.

Generation UK’s DCS programme is a five-week, full-time digital bootcamp designed to equip young people with the technical skills to obtain an entry-level role in customer support, as well as leveraging Generation UK’s expertise in behavioural and soft skill development. In 2021, the programme hopes to equip at least 200 learners with the skills needed to enter the customer support sector.

Generation UK suggest that graduates from its programme could go on to work in start-up companies, medium enterprises, or major corporations, and generally support potential employers in addressing their needs over a variety of channels, including email, phone, webchat and social media.

The first intake of students will enrol on the programme in February 2021, delivered by instructors selected and trained by Generation. Students participating on the course will also come to benefit from free career coaching up to six months after completion, along with free online soft-skills courses to prepare them for applications.

In Manchester, Teleperformance, a worldwide leader in omnichannel customer experience management, is working in partnership with Generation as an employer partner. The company will be offering full-time customer support positions to a proportion of graduates, along with a bespoke programme support in the form of preparation sessions for candidates, bi-weekly forums and monthly feedback calls to maximise success.

Following roll-out for students in Manchester and Birmingham, subsequent opportunities will be made available in London and Leeds in the coming months. The initial programmes are in part funded by the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund, a joint venture between Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, and funded by the Department for Education Digital Bootcamp Fund to address the digital skills gaps across Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

Michael Houlihan, CEO of Generation UK, said: “Young people in the UK are disproportionately suffering from rising levels of unemployment in the wake of Covid, and unfortunately many pathways into work have been shut down. We are delighted to be launching a new Covid-resilient programme, specifically designed to target in-demand jobs.

“Moreover, it’s great to be able to deliver a skills training programme so that people can keep moving forward, even whilst stuck in lockdown. This new programme will help young people across the country to gain the skills needed to enter a segment of the economy that we know to be growing and recruiting.

“Today, digital skills are in even greater demand, and by working with the government, local authorities and employment partners, we are able to help young people – often from disadvantaged backgrounds – to overcome the barriers into a new career.”

Councillor Sean Fielding, GMCA employment, skills and digital lead, said: “In Greater Manchester, we want everyone, whatever their age, location or situation, to be able to benefit from the opportunities digital brings. The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund was set up to help support our residents with accessible routes into digital employment and this training programme is an excellent example of this. This exciting new programme will enable our residents who have been the hardest hit by this pandemic to gain valuable skills and support to gain meaningful employment.”

Gary Slade, CEO of Teleperformance UK, said: “We’re truly proud to be collaborating with Generation UK on this important initiative, and grateful to play a part in combatting the ongoing challenges Britain’s youth faces today. Amidst the disruption, demand for valuable customer-facing roles in the tech industry is offering young talent a flourishing, stable career path – and we want to take this opportunity to help them along the way.

“At Teleperformance, we keep the development of diverse youth in the UK in high regards and strive to make our people feel they are part of something much bigger than just a job. That’s why we’ll be delivering a unique post-programme approach to help them become expert in the field and ensure continuous improvement in the world of work, with the aim of recruiting 500-1,000 people this year.”

Originally published at E&T