lady online learning in a cafe

@WeAreESCG has pledged £1million to help people in Sussex improve their skills following the Coronavirus pandemic.

The college group will invest £1million of adult education funding over the next 12 months to specifically help local communities and businesses recover from the Covid-19 crisis by delivering free courses and qualifications to local businesses, employees and job seekers.

East Sussex College is already supporting workers who have been furloughed by providing free online training courses. It is also providing mental health first aid training for employers so they can effectively support their teams while working remotely.

This new announcement will mean that adults across Sussex, who are claiming Universal Credit, will have access to pre-employment training programmes that are directly linked to job opportunities. These courses will lead to certificates and skills over a 1-3 week period.

College leavers and university graduates will also benefit from the pledge as they will have access to bespoke employability training programmes to better equip them for the challenging labour market following their studies.

The fund will also be used to help existing workers and volunteers to improve their digital skills and support business start-up training.

Working in partnership with East Sussex County Council, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, the Department for Work and Pensions, Let’s Do Business Group and Sussex Chamber of Commerce, the college is gathering intelligence in order to provide the most effective mix of training that will benefit employers and their staff as well as those looking for work.

Dan Shelley, Executive Director, Strategic Partnerships & Engagement at East Sussex College, said, “We are very excited to launch this investment as part of our wider support package for local businesses and communities during these difficult times. We want to be as responsive and flexible in our approach as possible, working with partners to provide the right training at the right time as we move out of lockdown and would welcome further discussions with any organisation that can help us shape what is needed to support the economic recovery.”

Cllr Rupert Simmons, Lead Member for Economy at East Sussex County Council, said, “We are really pleased to hear that following the pandemic, East Sussex College Group is planning to allocate £1m of its Adult Education Budget to support economic recovery in East Sussex. We are happy to be working with the College to identify how this money can be best used to help our local businesses and residents develop skills for resilience and growth over the coming months.”

Graham Marley, CEO Let’s Do Business Group, said, “The Let’s Do Business Group is supporting this much needed initiative to support Sussex businesses and people recently made unemployed during these very challenging times. Both businesses and individuals need to adapt quickly and a small relatively small investment of time to learn new skills will pay dividends in the longer term. The College should be commended for taking this proactive approach.”

Ana Christie, Chief Executive Sussex Chamber of Commerce, said, “These are challenging times. As businesses concentrate on their recovery, there is a need to develop the skills of existing staff. Plus individuals looking for work will require support and employability guidance. This partnership will stimulate economic recovery so businesses can build resilience and return to prosperity and growth.”

Graham Peters, Chairman Team East Sussex, said, “The pledge is a tremendously powerful and proactive response to the Covid 19 crisis from East Sussex College. It supports businesses and residents with the skills needed to kick-start the recovery and it’s particularly good to see that it's being developed in partnership with the other key organisations in the county: Local authorities, Chambers of Commerce, careers providers and other Further and Higher education organisations. It will be a very strong supporting link in the Team East Sussex economy recovery plan which we are working on urgently right now and we would urge all of the County's businesses and individuals to take advantage of this terrific offer.”

A number of short online courses are already available through the college’s website , and the sector-based work academies, which will feature blended learning, are planned for later this summer.

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