How investing in digital skills will help grow your business

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Every business that wants to grow needs a website of some sort. Every business needs to know how to use digital marketing to reach customers. And every business can benefit from having employees with the skills needed to operate successfully online.

That’s why New Anglia LEP has appointed Netmatters in Wymondham to run digital Skills Bootcamps for micro businesses and SMEs in Suffolk and Norfolk. Skills Bootcamps are part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, helping everyone gains skills for life. They are heavily subsidised, so SMEs only pay 10% of the cost – and they are free to learners.

Netmatters is now offering Skills Bootcamps in web development, software engineering and digital marketing. These remote learning courses are normally fulltime, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and run for 16 weeks. However, there is some flexibility for reduced hours for micro and small businesses that can’t afford to lose employees for that amount of time.

We asked Netmatters’ Project Manager, Jaz Instone-Brewer, to tell us about why these skills are vital to modern businesses and how the flexible option works.

Why do businesses need these skills in-house?
“Businesses tend to think they should outsource all non-core work and skills. However, thanks to the rise of the web, running even a basic website and social media campaign is now a core function for virtually every company. As a result, it is normally more efficient for companies to have some in-house web development and digital marketing skills, rather than relying on agencies.

“Of course, there will always be a place for companies like Netmatters to support businesses on large web development projects, marketing campaigns and systems upgrades. But for day-to-day operations it makes sense to employ people who can carry out essential maintenance and implement your online communications strategy. It means you have people embedded in your business who really understand it and can plan for and respond to its changing needs.”

How can digital Skills Bootcamps help?
“Our Skills Bootcamps draw on our experience of running the highly successful Scion Coalition Scheme for developing people’s software skills. We don’t just teach people about the fundamentals of web development and digital marketing. We also help them develop a broad range of in-work skills.

“This includes helping them learn to work remotely, how to work under pressure and how to produce high quality work for clients. We are ambitious for all our learners, setting them KPIs and teaching them how to focus on specific tasks set by project managers. Our aim is to develop both their technical and time management skills, which they will be able to apply to all work.”

What’s the flexible option?

“We understand that not all businesses can release employees for full time study. Our Skills Bootcamps run for a maximum of 16 weeks but there is some flexibility for your business to agree a reduced schedule of say 20 hours a week (for instance, 4 hours a day or 2.5 days a week). However, if you restrict your employee’s hours you will, of course, restrict the amount of training they receive.

“Whichever option you choose (full or part-time study), we will need to see evidence from your business of real benefits to the individual, such as increased responsibilities or a pay rise. If you want to find out more, please call our team on 01603 515700 to discuss your needs and how we can help your employees.”

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