Posted 4 months ago by Charlotte Moncrieff

FastFutures Launches A ground-breaking digital skills programme, backed by leading global employers to prevent a lost generation

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​FastFutures is a unique programme designed to provide participants with the skills employers value now and in the future, futureproofing careers and limiting a potentially damaging skills gap for this generation of education leavers. The programme is fully scalable and aims to provide tens of thousands of free places annually. The inaugural 12-week programme is being launched with 1,000 free places funded by the founding employers. Additional cohorts of a similar sizes are expected in the months ahead as more business partners join the programme, and details are finalised as to how the programme will work with the 38 LEPs (Local Enterprise Partnerships) across the country.

FastFutures is in discussions with various Government departments to determine how the programme can most effectively accelerate take up of existing Government schemes.

COVID-19 has resulted in limited available internships and work placements which traditionally provide the vital experiences and business skills that help to secure full-time employment. For the first and most important 6 months of their working lives, this generation is facing an employment wasteland before employers start to hire again in early 2021. FastFutures will provide this age-group with a bridge from education to career opportunities, with a programme specifically designed to develop the skills most valued by employers, both today and in the years to come.

The UK has never seen a greater demand, nor an immediate requirement, for digital skills, which range from data analytics to digital marketing. FastFutures will help to solve this critical shortage, preparing individuals as companies accelerate to a digital workplace. There is a grave risk that the COVID-19 impact will inflict a double blow on our workforce: a wasted generation and a crippling shortage of the digital and technology skills that the UK vitally needs to kick-start its economic recovery.

Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to FastFutures. The programme will use a carefully tailored, and fully inclusive recruitment process to appeal to and prioritise underrepresented groups to deliver a diverse cohort of participants. To encourage diversity across the participant pool, recruitment will focus on cognitive ability over verbal and numerical reasoning, helping to assess potential and talent. FastFutures is partnering with outreach networks to encourage under-represented groups to apply from a truly diverse range of ethnic, socio-economic, geographical and gender identities. This transformative approach is critical to helping to address inequalities across the workforce and promoting social mobility.

FastFutures has been designed in collaboration with its founding employers to ensure the skills developed are those in demand from employers. Successful applicants will learn practical, business-focused skills via a 12-week programme, alongside site visits to founding employer workplaces, coaching and mentoring from business experts. Modules include a practical business project, the role of data in a commercial setting, marketing, the importance of teamwork, and a basic understanding of finance. Online modules will be taught through set weekly learning hours, in addition to collaborative workshops, group projects and seminars, all using Avado’s connected learning platform. Coupled with this, mentors and Q&A opportunities with senior leaders, both provided by founding employers, will advise on the softer skills needed to succeed in the workplace. In addition, a growing list of Fast Futures Ambassadors will provide exclusive access to their insights and experiences through different modules on the programme.

The founding employers, AstraZeneca, Agilisys, AO.com, Barclays, Blenheim Chalcot, BT, Legal & General, Modulr,Health Education England and its partner NHS bodies, Octopus Group, Salary Finance, Standard Chartered and Tate & Lyle, have committed the financial resources to ensure that this programme is free for all participants, enabling any individual to apply regardless of circumstance and background. The employers will also provide mentor support across the programme and have guaranteed job interviews with employment opportunities for those that are successful through their assessment processes.

FastFutures is being launched by Blenheim Chalcot, the UK’s leading digital venture builder, and will be delivered by Avado, the country’s leading digital vocational skills provider, supported by Hive Learning to enable a modern, social learning experience. Outreach will be supported by Artic Shores and Trinnovo.

Applications for the programme open today, 28thJuly 2020, with the application window running up until 13th August 2020. Applications will remain open for future cohorts. Further details are available at www.avadolearning.com/fastfutures.