A pilot initiative aimed at upskilling jobseekers to fill London’s yawning digital skills gap has granted a much wished-for change of direction for Restart Scheme participant, Karolis.
Despite a successful background in the hospitality sector – and no end of job offers from former employers when pubs and restaurants reopened after the Covid closures – he took stock of his future and decided IT was a better option.
Hoping for improved pay, more regular hours, and greater prospects, Karolis paid for a year-long IT Career Switch course, with the promise of help finding a job at the end of it. No job materialised, however, and although his course fee was refunded, his hopes of a digital career had taken a knock.
Just days later his Ingeus advisor suggested a four-week coding bootcamp, funded by Ingeus through the Government’s Restart Scheme. It was run online in partnership with CodeVerse, which exists to enable participants from diverse backgrounds to access high demand technology roles.
It was perfect timing for Karolis, who says: “Returning to hospitality would have been the easy option but also a step back into long hours, working at weekends and over bank holidays.
“I couldn’t see any further challenges there and I wanted to learn new skills, to take some risks and explore what else life could offer.
“I was excited by the opportunity the bootcamp offered because I had just finished a coding course, so it seemed particularly relevant to me and my future.
“It wasn’t easy. My previous course was aimed at complete beginners with a year to learn, but the bootcamp was in-depth, not just teaching you coding but also how to develop your mindset into learning and developing.
“The tutor Gautham was very down to earth. You could ask anything and he wouldn’t mind explaining it to you a couple of times.”
Karolis proved to be one of the bootcamp’s top performers, which led to him being invited to the Ingeus Hammersmith office to be presented with a certificate recognising the skills he had learned.
He says: “Despite the number of vacancies, the tech sector is not easy to get into. It would be tempting to return to hospitality to earn some money, but if I do I will be back into the rat race of long hours and low pay.
“Tech jobs are better paid and offer the possibility of working from home, and with the skills I’ve learned at the bootcamp that seems more achievable now.”