Yorkshire Centre for Training

The UK is facing a serious skills shortage. While it is an issue that is discussed regularly, the coronavirus pandemic has significantly highlighted why the country needs to address this and why businesses need to utilise the most effective learning and development opportunities available to them, writes Dianne Wainwright.

Since the pandemic began in March last year, the UK jobs market has drastically changed. The UK has a skills deficit and around two-fifths (38%) involve a lack of digital skills.

According to the Employer Skills Survey (ESS), a third of vacancies (33%) in the UK were considered hard to fill. This is often down to a lack of required skills, qualifications or experience among applicants.

There is a high percentage of people who are not as technically qualified than many of our competitor countries. This is leading to a skills shortage that is holding many of our businesses and innovative industries back. 

I am an advocate of skills development programmes and of organisations that are proactively addressing the skills gaps within the West Yorkshire region. One such organisation is Luminate Education Group, which has launched the Yorkshire Centre for Training Development (YCTD). 

The centre will bring together staff from across the group’s FE colleges - Leeds City, Harrogate, and Keighley to collaborate on this new training offer. 

In the long term, YCTD has the potential to support businesses and their employees with bridging the skills gap and addressing the productivity challenges that the country needs. Currently the country is more than 30 per cent behind the US and around 10-15 per cent behind Germany.

Alex Tuckett, a senior economist at PricewaterhouseCoopers argued in 2019 that productivity shortfall is due to low levels of investment, research and development spending and that the government needs to improve the quality and capacity of local infrastructure. 

With the announcement of the Skills for Jobs white paper, I believe that this is a step in the right direction and is beginning to address what the country needs, to drive economic growth. By providing advanced and higher technical training and education, YCTD will address low value qualifications, improve training and support businesses with what they need to thrive

There is a real ambition from the government to build on the existing £2.5 billion apprenticeships programme and it is great to see that it wants employers at the centre of the post-16 skills agenda. 

With the ever-changing economic climate, education institutions have recognised that businesses need to adapt their employees’ skills, to ensure a successful post-Brexit and post-Covid-19 transition. 

Luminate Education Group’s ability to build relationships with local employers signifies what its member colleges are able to offer in terms of training and the apprenticeships they deliver.

YCTD will support the region’s needs, while helping organisations to adapt to the changing business environment. The centre will feature professional development courses for a range of industries, as well as upskilling opportunities to address business skills shortages. 

More recently, there has been far more collaboration between FE institutions and businesses in terms of developing their offering and these relationships will be important going forward as they demonstrate how both colleges and employers are responding to the skills needs of employers across the region. The government needs to continually address and acknowledge what FE colleges offer.

Traditionally, colleges have a label that they only deliver qualifications that might not always be aligned with what businesses actually need and that is a reputation going back a number of years. However, businesses are starting to acknowledge that colleges are there and able to respond, react and recalibrate the offer to meet the needs of businesses. 

There needs to be a universal approach to how businesses and FE colleges work together to deliver courses that meet sector specific demands. If we are to get this right, we are going to need to understand and accommodate a number of people who may not necessarily have the right skills and will need to work with employers to see what skills are needed. 

There is a big conversation around accessing training from a funding point of view and this is twofold: businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, often feel that they don’t have a big enough budget to invest in training. There is also a perception or perceived barrier by individuals seeking courses, who don’t necessarily want to take on loans or don’t know how to access loans to get more training. Therefore, stakeholders, whether they are the council or training providers, need to support those wanting to reskill or upskill and make information readily accessible so that they understand their options. 

If the government can support concerns around getting funding right to support businesses to develop in-house training with colleges that are fit for purpose, then we will be able to address and fill the skills gaps that various sectors are lacking. However, there needs to be consideration of existing staff and ensuring that training is available and accessible to them to upskill, alongside new staff. 

Accessing online training, which has become part of a wider curriculum objective due to the pandemic, is going to be critical going forward. FE institutions and employers need to build on that and make training attainable for everyone. Furthermore, there is an overarching need to address digital, literacy and numeracy skills to improve people’s employability prospects.

On-the-job training should not only be about gaining a qualification but about how employees can become productive and effective in the workplace, while ensuring that there is overall development. Initiatives such as Engine Room @ LeedsBID bring together an array of support functions in one city centre location to enable businesses in Leeds to prosper.

Collectively, colleges, the local council and regional partners need to work together to ensure that the right funding is available to drive change. We need to think ahead of how we upskill or reskill people, and the YCTD will be key to this objective. 

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page