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Level Up Scheme – Bath Spa University

Free digital course helps local residents give back to their community

Thursday, 11 April, 2024

Click Start by Bath Spa in Creative Digital Skills is helping learners give back to their community and start a career in technology through their new Level Up scheme, which matches learners aged 18-30 to creative and technology based volunteering opportunities from local charities.

Click Start launched last March and aims to change the course of the UK’s growing digital skills shortage and pull down the barriers many face trying to enter the rapidly evolving workforce. The course is part of the nationwide Click Start training programme developed by the Institute of Coding (IoC), a national consortium of industry, educators and outreach providers. Click Start is funded by Nominet, the public benefit company that operates and protects UK Internet infrastructure and uses its funds to support projects that promote digital inclusion.

Nominet has committed to £12m in funding over three years to develop the Click Start programme with the IoC, led by the University of Bath. There are opportunities for over 40,000 learners to take part in the initiative – from veterans looking for a career change, to underrepresented groups who are looking for an introduction to entry level tech and digital roles, to young learners looking to start their careers.

Over ten weeks learners develop next level skills in digital marketing, UI/UX design and web development. Learners are also supported throughout the course and for six months after by a personal employability coach from Catch22. Since the first cohort started in May 2023, the free short course has helped over 150 learners take the next step in their career goals.

One of the charities involved in Level Up is Changes Bristol, who has been providing support to those experiencing mental health difficulties in Greater Bristol since 2003. They provide weekly support meetings, a befriending service for weekly peer support, volunteering opportunities and bespoke training in mental health awareness in the workplace, mental health first aid and more.

When asked about working with their Click Start volunteer, Fundraising & Communications Officer Elysia said:

“Working with our Click Start volunteer has been an excellent experience. They’re an extremely passionate individual who has brought their creativity and talent for digital design to Changes Bristol. It’s been great to see the potential of my volunteer shine throughout our time working together.”

Extraordinary Links CIO has also taken on a volunteer as part of the Level Up scheme. Founded in 2020, Extraordinary Links CIO is dedicated to funding and delivering activities and services to help disabled children and their families in and around Bristol. They strive to inspire and improve the lives of those who need assistance.

Gillian Crea, Managing Trustee at Extraordinary Links, said:

“Our volunteer has been great and has already used her expertise to write several blog posts. She is very friendly and engaged with the aims of our charity and has been a joy to work with. The highlight of getting involved with this scheme is having someone so intelligent and trustworthy as part of the team.”

Cher-Maine Lee took part in Click Start last year and has since started as a UX/UI Volunteer at We Are BS15. She has also gained a role in marketing at Bristol Drugs Project.

Cher-Maine said:

“In my volunteering role I help make sure the organisation's website is compliant with accessibility guidelines. Since starting this role I’ve learnt to navigate WordPress and familiarised myself with ways to make websites accessible to diverse audiences. I enjoy learning to use the content management software the website is built on and being able to contribute to society.

My advice to Click Start learners thinking about volunteering is: if you have the time for it, give it a go! You'll get to learn more and refine your skills, whilst being able to contribute to creating positive impact.”

If you’d like to find out more about Click Start and how it can help you take the next step in your career, visit our website.

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