From education to employment

Skills and post-16 Education Act set to transform skills and training landscape 

In April, The Skills and post-16 Education Act 2022 was confirmed in parliament as one of the final pieces of legislation to get over the line underpinning the government’s skills and training revolution. 

The Skills and post-16 Education Bill was initially introduced in May 2021 but had a rocky journey to reach this point. The new legislation promises to ensure that everyone can gain the skills needed to progress into a rewarding job. It also means that businesses can access a pipeline of talented and qualified employees to bolster their workforce. 

It is no secret that the UK has been facing a skills crisis for some time and the pandemic heightened the struggles. The growing skills demand has expectedly increased pressure on the current workforce. 

There are several measures introduced by the Act, the most interesting is the prioritisation of local needs and local people. Under this measure, there will be a legal requirement on colleges and other providers to work with employers to develop skills plans to ensure the training available meets the needs of local areas, and people no longer have to leave their hometowns to find good jobs. 

Over the last several years, at Complete Skills Solutions (CSS), we have worked closely with the Liverpool City Region (LCR) and local employers to plug skills gaps. Under the LCR Adult Education Budget (AEB), we provide LCR residents with valuable opportunities to support them to secure employment. 

Our partnerships and collaborations span several industries, from Health and Social Care to Construction to Hospitality. These partnerships are a vital element of our service offering and bridge the gap between industry needs and the training individuals receive. 

Our mission has always been to support individuals in the communities we serve, and I am delighted that the government is now implementing these measures to ensure local people and their futures are prioritised. I believe that the new interventions will go a long way in ensuring communities flourish. 

In conjunction with the Skills Act, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has launched a new Skills Action Plan to help employers fill a record number of job vacancies across the region. In December, vacancies hit 20,000 per week compared to 12,000 before the pandemic. The Action Plan’s goal is to connect a highly-skilled pool of local workers with well-paid, secure jobs. 

Despite Liverpool’s forecast looking better than predicted, the region’s economic recovery is still filled with uncertainty. Since CSS’ inception, we have nurtured and developed employer relationships which have enabled us to deliver training opportunities that equip individuals with skills, knowledge, and tools to progress into employment. 

Another measure outlined under the Act is to prioritise green skills to help the training on offer across the country meet the needs of the growing green economy. The government has previously detailed their ambitious Net Zero plans and several new offshore wind developments that will help them meet the targets. 

But with such ambitious plans, there has previously been scepticism as to whether the green industry workforce can deliver. Each year we see investment and ambition grow in renewables but if the sector is to deliver on its targets, there is a demand for a highly-skilled, competent, and future-proof renewable workforce.  

The prioritisation of green skills development and training will be a key enabler in the upscaling of the wind workforce. This focus should not only centre around new talent but upskilling the current workforce and creating career pathways for individuals in the industry to progress through. 

Earlier this year, Complete Training Solutions (CTS) launched a trailblazing Green Energy Skills Bootcamp in partnership with Liverpool City Region and the Department for Education to provide free industry-led renewables training. The course Skill Bootcamp lasts three to four weeks and upon completion, learners attend an interview with a leading engineering employer, Windtex. This Skills Bootcamp is pioneering change and transformation across renewables and supporting the national targets. 

As Managing Director of Complete Skills Solutions and Complete Training Solutions, we have a commitment to providing individuals with quality education and training that will support them to secure great employment opportunities. I am hopeful that the new measures outlined in the Act will support businesses and training providers to help even more individuals. 

In the coming months across CSS, we have huge plans to expand our portfolio of education and training opportunities in the apprenticeship space, catering for the needs of employers in multiple sectors. 

The skills landscape across the country is constantly shifting, changing, and evolving, so these new laws are needed now more than ever. As the UK enters a new post-COVID-19 era, we are met with a new wave of demands that must be met to ensure local communities thrive. If we nurture local needs and focus resources on industries with skill gaps, we can increase the chances of prosperity nationally. 

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