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Burnley College wins Digital fast track funding

Lancashire’s engineering workforce is now able to access specialist digital training thanks to Burnley College’s successful bid for funding through the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund. ‘Project Uplift’ is a programme co-designed and delivered by Burnley College to help experienced manual workers transition into digital programming roles within the manufacturing sector, specifically within engineering.

The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund (FTF) is a £3 million pilot programme from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) delivered in partnership with the Manchester Combined Authority and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership.  It specifically targets disadvantaged groups and those under-represented to help them get into digital roles.

Focussing on highly-skilled engineers, who, due to their age have minimal skills in the digitisation of their work, ‘Project Uplift’ aims to upskill existing employees whilst preventing under-utilisation of machines and potentially increase productivity within companies.

Neil Burrows, Assistant Principal of Burnley College, with responsibility for Apprenticeships, Employer Engagement and Adult Skills, said:

“Nationally, the biggest challenges facing companies within Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing is the lack of digital culture and training.  There’s a tremendous pressure to be digitally advanced to remain competitive and be efficient in processes.  Employers constantly tell Themis that much of their workforce, whilst highly skilled, learnt their trade prior to the digital age and therefore lack these skills.

“We’re delighted that Project Uplift will go some way to address this imbalance.  We will work to roll this training out to the over-50s and those wishing to change their career but who lack the skills to move roles.  Again, experience tells us that our Employers often struggle to fill vacancies requiring specialist digital skills so this
training will work to fill these gaps.”

The training will be provided as online modules and with mentor support.  Whilst experienced manual workers will gain transition into more digital, programming roles, it is expected that the wealth of expertise they have in other aspects of engineering will start to greatly benefit the industry at large.


Burnley College has close links with Employers across the region and is recognised for providing award-winning Apprenticeship and Business Training through Themis, Thanks to this funding, we can invest in our region’s future, through building and delivering this necessary training together. We look forward to working with our
industry partners to bridge another industry need.

Neil Burrows

Director of Themis at Burnley College

Are you an employer looking to retrain or upskill your workforce?  Have you recognised a
gap in the digital skills of your employees?  Discover how you can access Project Uplift
training and be part of this outstanding project.  Contact Themis at Burnley College to find out why we are the number one College in England for student achievement.
Visit burnley.ac.uk, email [email protected] or call 01282 733373.