Digital Start Fund


Digital skills can help you land a well-paid career with long-term security. But accessing the training you need to get started is often costly. That’s why the Digital Start Fund has been created, to help people on lower incomes gain skills in software development and cyber security. 

For general enquiries, please contact

The support you need to thrive in digital

If you are on a lower income, the Digital Start Fund could offer you a grant to help pay for training. A million pounds in total is available through the fund provided by Scottish Government, and managed by Skills Development Scotland. Apply and you could be awarded between £1,000 and £8,000 to cover training in software development and cyber security. This will be paid straight to your training provider. Funding may also be available for travel and childcare costs if you need it.

A foot in the door of a major growth industry

There are thousands of new jobs available in the digital sphere each year. These include jobs requiring specific tech-focused skills – like software development and cyber security – as well as jobs in areas like marketing, HR, data, and finance. Take a look at our Sectors and Jobs area to get a sense of just how much is out there.

Boost your earning power

High demand for digital skills often means a high salary for those who fit the bill. In the digital industry, salaries average around £37,500 – well above the national average salary of £28,000.

A training type for everyone

You can access training even if you don't have any digital experience. There are a variety of training lengths and locations available through the fund, all of which will lead to a qualification at SCQF7 level or above, and will be delivered by accredited, approved training providers (see below).

Are you eligible?

To be eligible to apply, you’ll need to be resident in Scotland and have the right to work in the UK.

You will also have to either:

  • receive Universal Credit or other income-based benefits


  • face two or more barriers to work, such as being an army veteran, having a disability, living in an area with a high unemployment rate, being aged 54 or older, or being homeless (for further information about recognised barriers to work visit here).

Please note that recent graduates (within the last 12 months) aren’t eligible to apply.


The fund will be open for applications until the end of March 2020 (funds permitting). Please get in touch directly with your preferred training provider, using the contact detail below. 

Training Providers

Provider: West College Scotland

Course Title: Codeworks

Brief Description:  

West College Scotland’s ‘Codeworks’ project will equip people from Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire with skills in coding that local software development firms have identified as a skills gap. Participants will gain a National Progression Award in Software Development, and then a level seven Professional Development Award over the course of two academic blocks. This offers a realistic pathway through which learners can quickly attain the skill level required to gain accreditation at SCQF 7, with flexible entry requirements. 

Course days/hours:         

2 to 3 days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Delivery Location:                             

Paisley, Renfrewshire

Course contact name for more information:

Paul McLaughlin, Head of Creative and Digital Industries,  Email: Tel:0141 581 2220

Provider: CodeClan                

Course Title: Professional Software Development Course                 

Brief Description:  

Our full-time Professional Software Development courses delivered in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Full Stack Web Development course in Inverness, are fast-paced and immersive, giving you a solid foundation in the key digital skills that employers want. You’ll start with 3 weeks of pre-course work to get you up to speed, then embark on the full 16 weeks classroom-based course (12-week on Campus delivery in Inverness), all delivered by professional developers. You'll be taught how to set up your development environment, write code that is clean and understandable, use object-oriented programming, user experience design, test driven development and Agile practices to develop well-functioning products You will also have the chance to gain SQA’s Professional Development Award in Software Development (SCQF Level 8).  

Course days/hours:

Ful time Monday - Friday (9:00am-4:30pm) across 16-weeks

Delivery Location:

Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness

Course contact name for more information:

Stephanie Paterson (Head of Admissions) Email:  Tel: 0131 290 2600. 

Provider: GTS Solutions

Course Title:  HNC in Cyber Security

Brief Description

This comprehensive HNC in Cyber Security is designed to develop the transferrable skills required by employers and/or universities to meet the huge demand for skilled operators in the world of online protection. Learners will complete 7 compulsory units, and 4 optional units, ranging from computer architecture to ethical hacking, and computer networks through to cyber security ethics and programming.

This modern and flexible qualification will equip you with the practical skills and knowledge to allow progression to higher education or employment in the information security industry.

Course days/hours: TBC

Delivery Location: TBC

Course contact name for more information:

Chris Thewlis Email:

Provider: North Highland College

Course Title: Cyber Security Skills

Brief Description: An exciting online course designed to deliver understanding, knowledge and skills of auditing and ethical hacking, in the world of cyber security.   This course will offer applicants the opportunity to achieve an SQA accredited award at Level 7/8.    Students on this course will have opportunity to hear from employers about their requirements for industry, and interview skills, CV writing and the development of employability skills will be integrated.

While it would be beneficial for applicants to have some prior knowledge and skills in computer science/networking, no previous knowledge or experience is required.  Prior to acceptance on this course, potential applicants will require to demonstrate an appropriate level of analytical skills and core skills ability in communication, numeracy and Computer Science at SCQF level 5.

Course days/hours: The course will start on mid-November (TBC) and end on 27 March 2020, with students expected to contribute at least 7.5 hours per week to online study and activity, for the duration of the course. 

Delivery Location: Online Learning

Course contact name for more information:

Karen Spencer, Email: