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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 data analysis, software development and cyber security. 

For general enquiries, please contact DigitalStartFund@sds.co.uk. To apply, please contact training providers directly. Details of courses and providers are listed below.

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 Industries 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 (JSA Candidates are not eligible for Digital Start Fund training)

OR

  • Low Income employed and face two or more barriers, such as being an armed forces 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.

Training Providers

Provider: CodeClan                

Course Title: Data Analysis Course                           

Brief Description:  

Our full-time Data Analysis course delivered in Edinburgh and our remote delivery option, are fast-paced and immersive, giving you a solid foundation in the key digital skills that employers want. You’ll start with 2 weeks of pre-course work to get you up to speed, then embark on the full 14 weeks instructor led course all delivered by Data Analysts from academic and business backgrounds. You’ll be taught how to clean, manipulate and visualise data as well as how to make predictive models and the importance of data governance and ethics. This is all put into the context of making data driven decisions and solving problems for businesses so you have the skills to enter a role within data and hit the ground running. 

Course days/hours:

Full time for 14-weeks

Monday to Thursday, 9:00am-4:30pm, and Fridays 10:00am-3:00pm.

Delivery Location:

Edinburgh and remotely via CodeClan’s interactive, virtual classroom.

Course contact name for more information:

Stephanie Paterson (Head of Admissions)
Email: admissions@codeclan.com
Tel: 0131 290 2600. 

Provider: CodeClan                

Course Title: Professional Software Development Course                 

Brief Description:  

Our full-time Professional Software Development courses delivered in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, and 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 instructor led course (12-week 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:

Full time for 16 weeks (12 weeks in Inverness)

Monday to Thursday, 9:00am-4:30pm, and Fridays 10:00am-3:00pm.

Delivery Location:

Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and remotely via CodeClan’s interactive, virtual classroom.

Course contact name for more information:

Jessica Longstaff (Student Admissions Officer)
Email: admissions@codeclan.com
Tel: 0131 290 2600. 

Provider: Glasgow Life

Course Title: Glasgow Code Learning Pro: Cyber Security      

Brief Description:  

GCL Pro is designed to be flexible so that you can fit your studies around your other commitments. Glasgow Life in partnership with Glasgow Clyde College deliver the course as 5 x 3 hour online sessions a week for 12 weeks. You’ll be invited to take part in a mixture of tutor-led lectures, practical sessions, projects and discussion sessions. All of our live, tutor-led sessions will be recorded so that you can watch them and access course materials via our virtual learning platform at times that suit you. The course includes topics to build your knowledge and practical skills in Cyber Resilience, Data Security and Social Engineering.

All course completers will be awarded the SQA’s PDA in Cyber Resilience at SCQF level 7.

As a GCL learner we offer you a community of supportive tutors, access to laptops, software and connectivity, additional 1-1 support sessions and guidance on starting a career in the Digital Technologies sector. On enrolment with Clyde College, you’ll also receive a student card and have access to the facilities at all three of Clyde College’s campuses.

Our free, online GCL Developer course (SCQF level 5) is designed to help you prepare for GCL Pro if you don’t already have the equivalent level of previous skills/ experience. Modules include Software Development, Cyber Security and Web Development and can be completed in your own time and at your own pace.

Course days/hours:

Part-time, 5 x 3 hour sessions a week Monday – Friday for 12 weeks.

Delivery Location:

Online delivery with access to facilities at Glasgow Clyde College campuses.

Course contact name for more information:

Hazel Kyle (Employability Skills Project Coordinator)
Email: glasgowcodelearning@glasgowlife.org.uk / hazel.kyle@glasgowlife.org.uk
Tel: 07584 601 490

PROVIDER: SCOTLANDIS 

Course Title: Cyber Security Modules Level 9

Brief Description: 

We are offering eligible individuals the chance to undertake 2 SCQF Level 9 grant funded modules with a Cyber Security focus over a 12 week period online.  This course consists of two undergraduate 20 credit modules, Cyber Security and Network and Information Security, and prepares you for employment by developing your knowledge and skills in these two areas:

Cyber Security

This module prepares candidates for effectively researching and evaluating current threats, analysing and mitigating cyber security risks, and providing a comprehensive report describing how threats can be mitigated. Candidates will gain a theoretical and practical understanding of modern Cyber Security issues, as well as the ethical and legal considerations involved in them, and be able to suggest sensible strategies to mitigate those risks.

Network and Information Security

This module prepares candidates for critically evaluating and analysing the network and information security weaknesses of an organisation; producing network diagram designs and an appropriate addressing scheme and providing a comprehensive Network and Information Security Policy for an organisation.

Candidates will gain an understanding of typical Network and Information Security weaknesses and have an appropriate knowledge of current Information Security Standards to create a Network & Information Security Policy. Candidates will achieve an appreciation and awareness of the appropriate application of modern Network Security Devices.

This course is designed for people looking to develop their skills in Cyber Security, with either:

  • a qualification at Level 8 or above (HND, DipHE, or degree) in a STEM discipline
  • a HNC in a STEM discipline with relevant work experience
  • or demonstrable relevant experience that passes a panel assessment

There will also be a short open book pre – assessment examination before you are accepted onto the course.

Course days/hours: The course will start on the 2nd of November 2020 and will last 12 weeks.

Delivery Location: Online Learning

Course contact name for more information:

Nicola Taylor
Email: nicola.taylor@scotlandis.com
Tel: 01506 472200

PROVIDER: SCOTLANDIS 

Course Title: Applied Data Science Modules Level 11

Brief Description: We are offering eligible individuals the chance to undertake 2 SCQF Level 11 grant funded modules with a Data Science focus over a  12 week period online.  This course consists of two postgraduate 20 credit modules, Introduction to R and Data Visualisation and Data Analytics on the Web, and prepares you for employment by developing your knowledge and skills in these two areas:

Introduction to R and Data Visualisation

Analysing data often begins with visualising it, observing the relationships that appear and discovering anything unexpected. This module will teach candidates how to use the open source statistical software R to visualise data, including cleaning, preparing and summarising the data sets.

Alongside the data visualisations, reproducible reporting mechanisms will be introduced, using a document format that mixes code and text. The skills learned in the module are used in many fields and are applicable for use with many datasets, regardless of size.

R is a widely used tool throughout various industries and businesses. It has a large open source community who contribute to the development of new tools and techniques, along with providing community support. Other industry tools, including an integrated development environment and version control, will also be used throughout the module.

Data Analytics on the Web

Business intelligence can help companies uncover previously inaccessible insights hidden in large data sets of unstructured data formats, and take over tasks like image recognition, text analysis and repetitive knowledge work, and can be applied to boundless areas such as risk detection, logistics, technical support, behavioural analysis and customer support. This module aims to give candidates a theoretical and practical understanding of machine learning, one of the most exciting fields in computer science, in context to business intelligence and analytics.

This course is designed for people with an interest in Data and Analytics, with either:

  • A minimum 2:2 honours degree in a STEM subject
  • A minimum 2:2 honours degree in a Mathematic or Business Management subject with appropriate work experience (requires academic decision panel input)
  • Those who do not possess an honours degree but have an ordinary degree, or degree equivalent qualification, and work experience at a suitable level within an organisation for an appropriate length of time, will be considered (requires academic decision panel input)
  • Qualifications from an approved professional body will also be considered (requires academic decision panel input)

Course days/hours: The course will start on the 2nd of November 2020 and will last 12 weeks.

Delivery Location: Online Learning

Course contact name for more information:

Nicola Taylor
Email: nicola.taylor@scotlandis.com
Tel: 01506 472200

Provider: the open university 

Course Title: Coding Skills+          

Brief Description:  

Working with leading tech employers and national careers and skills agencies, CodingSKills+ from the Open University (OU) will support those on low/no incomes to develop key software development (Python) skills through a 20 week supported programme. Nurturing participants’ technical, online and meta skills, the programme will also provide in-built careers and employability support and access to an interview for a tech role or Graduate Apprenticeship with employers.

Python is one of the most in demand, versatile languages in use in industry today. Python programming skills are in high demand across key sectors of Scotland’s economy as organisations look to automate and digitise processes, maximise insights from data analysis and develop applications using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Participants will learn:

  • Universal concepts of computer programming, including object oriented programming
  • Knowledge of the Python programming language
  • Skills to resolve challenges in implementing programs
  • Agile approaches to product development and customer solutions, and an understanding of collaborative working in cross functional teams

The programme combines high quality online learning, webinars and online support and leads to Python PCEP and PCAP certification so participants may certify their skills to employers.

Course days/hours:

The programme flexes around existing commitments and whilst participants will need to keep on track, the participant is in the driving seat in terms of scheduling study each week.

On average, participants will need to set aside 8-10 study hours per week for 20 weeks but at certain points in the programme, more study time may be required. Participants are encouraged to attend the weekly webinar live, but these sessions will also be recorded.

Delivery Location:

Available across Scotland

Course contact name for more information:

Jane Dickinson
Email:  jane.dickinson@open.ac.uk