Recruiters must take skills bootcamps seriously

Recruiters need to start thinking about how they support and place candidates who have completed skills bootcamps as the policy is here to stay, the CEO of a leading employment charity has said.

Speaking to Recruiter, Michael Houlihan, CEO of Generation UK, described the skills bootcamp policy as big and significant. 

“This is no longer a niche part of the skills infrastructure,” he said. “It would be a mistake [for the recruitment industry] not to take it seriously because it’s not going away… The number of people coming through skills bootcamps over the next six years is going to be big.”

Funded by the Department for Education, skills bootcamps provide intensive technical training to candidates, typically over a 12 or 13-week period. Generation UK is the leading charity delivering the training, much of it focused on tech and digital skills. It targets young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who may otherwise struggle to access training opportunities and navigate the job market. Offered through a variety of channels – classroom-based, on-the-job, online or short courses – it is free to participants who are not securing the training through an employer.

In the four years since the charity launched in 2019 it has supported over 2,350 learners at more than 100 bootcamps working with over 600 employers.

However, Houlihan stressed that it was not only technical skills that Generation’s interventions delivered. In addition to the three months training, there is a six-month placement phase in which bootcamp graduates are supported to get a job.

Jobseeking for the bootcamp cohort “can be challenging”, he said. “Particularly as the people that we support, have less social capital than other people, they have less experience interviewing or trying to profile the market and understand which employers would be a good fit for them. So, our support around that is just as important as the skills training.”

Reflecting on opportunities for the recruitment industry, Houlihan opined that the industry as a whole placed less emphasis on placing people in entry level roles.

He suggested there could be an “untapped market” for recruiters to build a commercial offering around skills bootcamps.

Alternatively, working with clients to help them access good quality entry-level hires could be another way recruiters might add value both to employers and the wider social mobility challenge, he added.

• Comment below on this story. Or let us know what you think by emailing us at [email protected] or tweet us to tell us your thoughts or share this story with a friend.

ceo founder lynis bassett and MD naomi howells

Social recruiting March/April 2024

Recruiters and their staff continue to donate money and time to charities. Take a look at a few of the many examples we’ve seen since the previous Recruiter

Lighter Side 4 March 2024


This week’s appointments include: Baltimore Consulting, Ford and Stanley, Heidrick & Struggles, Know Someone, NRL, Sellick Partnership, The Access Group

People 12 February 2024


This week’s new launches include: QA, Scorpius Talent Acquisition, Zodeq

New to Market 23 January 2024

Dept for Education campaign to encourage staff to teach in Further Education

The Department for Education’s Teach in Further Education campaign is calling on those with industry experience to teach in FE.

New to Market 18 January 2024