From education to employment

GCP’s expanded apprenticeships and skills programme gets to work in April


An ambitious skills and training programme to boost apprenticeships, support businesses and help adults retrain and find a new career in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic will get to work from 1 April.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership has awarded a £2m four-year contract to Form the Future to deliver the extended service that will help people of all ages learn new skills and seek career advice. The programme will also work with businesses to support them through the process of offering additional training to staff and taking on trainees and apprentices. 

The ambitious programme, which will be delivered jointly with Cambridge Regional College, includes an enhanced package of measures to help people find work and local businesses find skilled staff.

Cllr Neil Gough, GCP Executive Board member and skills portfolio holder, said:

“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on local businesses, the broader economy and people’s livelihoods. It is likely to have a significant impact on the younger generation and leave many people needing to retrain to find work.

“I am delighted we are partnering with Form the Future and Cambridge Regional College once again to provide an expanded skills and training programme that will play a vital role in giving local people and local employers the tools and advice they need to find suitable skills and training opportunities within the unique employment environment of Greater Cambridge.”

The GCP’s Executive Board approved the extended skills service in October. Activities that will form part of the enhanced skills programme include:

·        the development of a ‘Cambridge Curriculum’ to prepare students for the work opportunities found in Greater Cambridge.

·        A significant increase in careers education in schools and post-16 education, with special support for promoting technical education.

·        Primary school careers activities.

·        intensive support and careers advice for adults looking to retrain.

·        improved mentoring, placement and apprenticeship opportunities.

·        targeted support for employers to help them access funding and to improve their offer of progression routes (e.g. apprenticeships) to young people.

·        Increased support for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) outreach activities.

The GCP has made significant investments to support the take-up of new apprenticeships – supporting the creation of more than 700 additional apprenticeships in local growth sectors delivered through the skills interventions.

The new expanded skills programme will provide a vital service to our communities, with ONS data from December 2020 showing that 3.6% of the working age population in our area claimed out of work benefits – an 180% increase on the number of people claiming in December 2019.

Form the Future has delivered the successful Greater Cambridge Apprenticeships service in partnership with Cambridge Regional College since 2019.

Anne Bailey, Chief Executive of Form the Future, said:

“We are delighted to have secured this new contract with GCP and to expand on the work we’ve been doing. As we recover from the pandemic, developing the skills of local people and connecting them with growing businesses is more important than ever.

“We’re planning some exciting new projects, like developing a Cambridge Curriculum, and we look forward to working with all of the employers, educators and networks across our community.”

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