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AoC and Skills for Business announce new alliance which unites supply and demand of education and training

The Association of Colleges (AoC) and Skills for Business have joined forces to deliver a “demand-led” approach to workforce training. It is hoped that the alliance between college principals and business will develop skills training ranging from writing and accrediting new qualifications to the development of Foundation Degrees and Diplomas.

“It brings together employers, through their Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), who can identify and articulate their skill needs, with college Principals who have the expertise to deliver the training to meet those needs,” said David Hunter, CEO of Lifelong Learning UK and chair of the skills coalition.

The “Unified to Deliver” scheme has the backing of the Government. John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills said:

“The Government’s ambition to make this country a world-class leader in employment and skills by 2020 is being realised. We are giving employers a powerful voice in closing skills gaps so they can control the design of training and its delivery, where and when employees need it.

“Our demand-led skills strategy and sweeping FE reforms will ensure that interaction between employers and training providers will develop relevant, high-quality, fit-for-purpose training, sector by sector across the whole economy.

“We are at the beginning of a new era for collaboration between employers, colleges and trainers. There are many examples of productive partnership already proving how direct negotiation and delivery of workforce training makes a huge difference in the workplace.”

Fourteen new employer/college sector skills groups are being developed as part of the coalition, each headed by a college principal. One of these skills groups is that for Creative & Media through which North Hertfordshire College and the Creative & Cultural SSC are working together on an action plan that includes developing aNational Skills Academy for backstage and technical skills.

Tom Bewick, chief executive of Creative & Cultural Skills said;

“I believe passionately that the Further Education sector are the unsung heroes of our education system; providing as they do the millions of opportunities for our citizens regardless of prior educational attainment and social background. However, our employers have been telling us that despite the juggernaut of qualifications, applicants aren”t coming through with the skills they need. This is why industry and education really need to work together. This flagship group provides the direct link between supply and demand. We can now help to deliver education and training that is truly responsive to the needs of employers.”

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