UK government pushes tech skills bootcamps for future 'comfy pay packet'

Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan leaves following the weekly Cabinet meeting in number 10, Downing Street on November 22, 2023 in London, England
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Attending government-backed tech skills bootcamps can lead to average salaries of more than £70,000, technology secretary Michelle Donelan claims.

In a new marketing push for the free courses, the government has commissioned research from Barclays Eagle Labs and Beauhurst which found they can lead to salaries two and half times the UK average.

Technology roles pay an average of 55% more than the national average, it said.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) is hoping to persuade more people to sign up to its digital skills bootcamps in cloud computing, software development, data analytics, cyber security, and web development.

"The appetite and potential British scale-ups have for growth is immense, we can no longer allow digital skills shortages to limit their ambition," Donelan said.

"Whether your personal ambition is to secure a comfy pay packet, land a creative role, solve the world’s most pressing challenges, or all three – the Skills Bootcamps we are promoting today can help achieve your own career goals while being part of our superpower sector."

The bootcamps last up to 16 weeks and will prepare participants for high-tech careers, with each guaranteed an interview on completion. No technical knowledge or educational qualifications are required to secure a place.

They are available part-time and full-time across the country, with many providers offering flexible options.

In total, the government has allocated £550 million of funding to the bootcamps, with the aim of upskilling 64,000 people by 2024-2025. There's also support from the Digital Skills Council, a group of major technology companies including Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS).


"We want to make it easy for everyone to have access to the skills and training they need to grow their careers. AWS is investing hundreds of millions of pounds to provide a wide range of free cloud skills and AI training to people from all walks of life and all levels of knowledge," said Tanuja Randery, EMEA managing director for Amazon Web Services.

"This includes homegrown UK programmes such as AWS re/Start, which prepares learners from unemployed and underemployed populations, who have little technology experience, for careers in the cloud – at no cost to the learner."

The government is concerned that its push to encourage new tech startups may flounder due to a lack of relevant skills. Its report found that demand for tech talent surged in 2022, after a slump during the height of the pandemic.

While tech job adverts decreased through the last year, demand for junior and entry-level roles has persisted, it said, with technology companies struggling to recruit the early career talent they need to match their growth ambitions.

"Closing the skills gap in the UK’s tech sector is essential for us to remain a competitive nation and deliver on the government ambition of becoming a science and tech superpower by 2030," said Andrew Roughan, CEO at coworking provider Plexal.

"In order for our companies to achieve scale, they need the right people to grow with them. So, I’m pleased to see our young people receiving more opportunities to enter the tech sector outside of the university path. I’d also encourage businesses to ensure ongoing upskilling of their existing staff to create a continued talent pipeline that will be of ongoing benefit to the UK economy."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.