Skills Bootcamp students career change – Bath Spa University
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Free online Skills Bootcamp in Creative Computing helps young local switch careers from sparky to techie

Tuesday, 19 July, 2022

Wells resident Ollie Wilkes, 22, knew he wanted to switch careers mid-pandemic, he just didn’t know where to start. With the help of a free Skills Bootcamp in Creative Computing short course, he’s now embarked on a new career in tech.

Skills Bootcamps are delivered by Bath Spa University and are part-time, fully funded courses that take place over 12 weeks. They allow adults who want to retrain and pursue a career in digital technology to learn sector-specific skills and improve their employability.

Explaining his choice to switch from being an electrician to working as a junior developer for a large printing company, Ollie said: “I was drawn to this course because I thought that it’d give me a good foundation to learn with other like-minded people in a similar situation. I thought it would also be beneficial for interviews as I’d be able to talk about my experiences on the course and show my portfolio.”

"As well as teaching the skills needed to enter a tech-based role, the courses also focus on developing the student’s employability and soft skills based on proven methods for CV and personal statement writing and interview techniques."

Ollie was also drawn to the networking possibilities that the course offers, as the lecturers encourage students to attend networking events in the South West. He said he found hearing about the highly qualified lecturers’ industry experience invaluable.

Throughout the 12 weeks, Ollie and his fellow students worked on group and individual projects to practise their acquired skills. They also produced a portfolio of prototypes to demonstrate to employers the practical skills in creative computing they had gained.

“The highlight of the course for me was meeting others and getting to know them while working through problems together,” said Ollie. “The Skills Bootcamp gave me a good idea of what to expect in regard to common industry processes and practices that are used in my new job.”

When asked why he decided to change careers from being an electrician to a junior developer, Ollie explained: “I’ve always been proficient with computers. I remember in primary school the teachers would usually ask me to fix their computer if there was anything wrong with it! I’ve also built my own computer, which I use as my daily workstation outside of my profession.”

“My current job is primarily data programming and analysis for a large printing company,” he continued. “This usually involves intaking and processing large quantities of variable data and information, and presenting it on templates and documents so that it’s ready to be printed.”

Ollie was also able to transfer the skills he gained in communication and logical thinking while working as an electrician to his new career, alongside those developed on the Skills Bootcamp.

Reflecting on the 12-week course, Ollie said:

“It was a great platform and place for me to learn with other individuals. It gave me the opportunity to showcase my dedication to potential employers by adding it to my CV, and it was a valuable experience in my journey to getting hired.”

For anyone considering applying for one of Bath Spa University's Skills Bootcamps Ollie advised: “At times it will be difficult, but consistency is key. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day!”

Inspired by Ollie's story? Find out more.

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