Skills bootcamps have emerged as a vital tool in upskilling individuals quickly and effectively, addressing critical skills shortages in various sectors. 

Wave 2 of these bootcamps has provided significant insights (evaluation; thematic survey) into both their potential and the areas where improvements are needed to make Wave 4 even more successful.


Navigating Challenges and Ensuring Success in Wave 4 Skills Bootcamps | Purlos


  1. Targeting the Right Learners: Addressing Pre-existing Qualifications

Wave 2 highlighted that over half of learners entering skills bootcamps already possessed qualifications at level 4 or above.


Source: Evaluation of Skills Bootcamps Wave 2 Implementation Report, DfE, March 2023


This raises the necessity for a more precise targeting strategy and pre-screening process for Wave 4. 

Identifying individuals with a genuine need for upskilling is vital to ensure that these bootcamps fulfil their purpose of addressing skills gaps.


  1. Tailoring Interviews for Maximum Impact

The study flagged concerns about inappropriate interviews despite the guarantee of job interviews being a cornerstone of skills bootcamps. 

Wave 3 should focus on refining interview processes, ensuring they align seamlessly with learners’ skill needs and opportunities available in the job market. 

The interviews should be an accurate reflection of what the bootcamp offers, ensuring a better match between learners and job openings.


  1. Enhancing Diversity in Participation

Wave 2 revealed a notable gender imbalance among course starters, primarily dominated by men.

Moving forward, incorporating effective pre-screening mechanisms is imperative to strategise for a more inclusive participation framework, ensuring that all potential participants have equal opportunities to engage and benefit from the program.

In Wave 3, deliberate and proactive measures are essential to enrich diversity in participation, aiming for a more equitable gender balance and diverse socioeconomic representation. 

Notably, the updated guidelines emphasise a target of at least a 10% enhancement in the social value metric, focusing on amplifying the representation of under-represented groups by the contract’s conclusion.



  1. Streamlining Application Processes

Wave 2 showcased high demand, with a significant number of applicants applying for limited positions. 

In Wave 4, optimisation of the pre-screening process is crucial to ensure that every application meets the requirements of these coveted positions. 

In addition, enhancing and simplifying the overall application process will ensure a smoother journey for aspiring learners, enabling them to access the bootcamps without unnecessary delays.


  1. Accelerating Funding for Providers

Providers expressed concerns about the funding schedule, considering it somewhat unfair and posing challenges to profitability. 

In Wave 4, a critical emphasis should be placed on enabling providers to promptly and accurately collect the necessary data for funding milestones, with support from platforms like Purlos. 

This ensures a streamlined process, allowing providers to efficiently claim the funding they are entitled to.


  1. Leveraging Feedback and Continuous Improvement

The challenges faced in Wave 2 offer invaluable lessons for Wave 3. 

Engaging with learners, providers, and employers for feedback and insights on the shortcomings of the previous wave is essential. 

This feedback loop will allow for iterative improvements, ensuring that each wave is more effective and impactful than the last.


  1. Ensuring Alignment with Employers’ Needs

Wave 2 revealed that smaller firms constituted a significant proportion of employers engaged with the bootcamps. 

Wave 4 should continue targeting smaller enterprises and actively involve them in the design and delivery of the bootcamps. 

Understanding and aligning the programs with employers’ needs is paramount to facilitate successful job placements post-bootcamp.



In conclusion, the challenges encountered in Wave 2 of skills bootcamps have paved the way for significant learnings and improvements. 

Adapting strategies, enhancing targeting, refining processes, and maintaining a focus on continuous feedback will be instrumental in ensuring that Wave 3 surpasses its predecessors in effectiveness and success. 

By implementing these learnings, we can set the stage for a more impactful and transformative future with skills bootcamps.

To learn about how Purlos can help support this process by streamlining the admissions process, enhancing student engagement and tracking learner outcomes, connect with our team HERE.


Amber Cousins