From education to employment

£2.5 million education boost for the region

classroom of a few students

Education organisations across the Marches have secured a £2.5 million funding package to boost skills training in the manufacturing, engineering and construction sectors – with a particular focus on ‘green’ technologies.

It will see new training centres opened and new courses delivered across Telford & Wrekin, Shropshire and Herefordshire, under the Marches Education Partnership banner.

The project involves Herefordshire, Ludlow and North Shropshire College, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Group Training Association, In-Comm Training Services Ltd, SBC Training, Shrewsbury Colleges Group, and Telford College – supported by Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Chamber of Commerce.

The funding from the Government’s Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) addresses specific skills needs identified in the latest Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) compiled by Shropshire Chamber on behalf of the Department for Education.

It will see the launch of 14 new training centres and the creation of at least 30 new courses to meet what the partners describe as some of the region’s ‘most significant sectors’, working closely with local employers.

The investment will address staff and skills shortages in the manufacturing and engineering sectors, including food and drink and construction, and build a ‘green skills’ construction workforce with a focus on environmental technologies.

The aim is to ensure that people seeking careers in growing sectors such as green energy, digital and construction – or looking to upskill for career development – can access improved skills training, helping them secure good jobs closer to home.

The projects are due to be delivered before the end of 2025. Around £1.2 million will be spent on new equipment and technology, with the remainder contributing towards curriculum development, staff development, promotion, and project management costs.

Education secretary Gillian Keegan said: “This investment is about boosting local industries, building people’s skills and ultimately futureproofing our economy and the career prospects of the next generation.”

  • As part of the government’s work to support more people to gain the skills they need to secure rewarding careers, the Chamber of Commerce network and other employer representative organisations were commissioned to lead work to develop local skills improvement plans, published summer 2023, so the training on offer better meets the current and future skills needs of local areas.
  • Colleges and other providers are receiving a share of the £165 million from the Local Skills Improvement Fund to invest in the projects outlined in these plans.
  • This comes on top of the success of the Strategic Development Fund, which has already made £157 million available to the FE sector to invest in a range of projects that have already helped level up communities up and down the country.
  • Training providers will receive a share of £44 million from the Skills Injection Fund to support more people to take Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs).

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