A partnership between further education institutions in the Staffordshire area, led by Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG), has been awarded funding for investment in new facilities and industry-standard equipment and the development of new courses and curriculum to support people to gain the skills needed to launch careers in priority sectors and support the local economy to grow.
The Staffordshire colleges will receive a share of £3.2M from the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) to help transform skills training, so that local businesses can continue to tap into the skilled workforce they need to thrive, while helping more people to secure good jobs closer to home.
From next year, the colleges will start to offer these exciting opportunities, which have been specifically aligned to the priority sectors identified by local employers in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP). Across the Staffordshire region, employers identified skills including advanced manufacturing, advanced logistics, construction, engineering and digital as their priority areas.
Craig Hodgson, Principal & Chief Executive of Newcastle & Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG), said:
“We are delighted to be leading on the Local Skills Improvement Fund for Staffordshire and working collaboratively with the Staffordshire colleges to deliver exciting and ambitious projects that will transform the regional skills landscape.
“The fund will provide the opportunity for colleges to invest in new industry-standard equipment, specialist staff training and develop innovative, forward thinking curriculum to meet the needs of local employers. The jobs of the future will look very different to those in the recent past and it is our collective responsibility to respond proactively to the evolving skills needs of our economy.”
Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan added:
“This investment is about boosting local industries, building people’s skills and ultimately future-proofing our economy and the career prospects of the next generation.
“Our local skills projects will bring together regional organisations, businesses and education providers to respond to the specific needs of employers, building an increasingly skilled workforce and growing local economies.
“Whether it is green skills, construction, engineering or digital, thousands more people can now gain the skills they need to secure good jobs closer to home.”
As part of the government’s work to support more people to gain the skills they need to secure rewarding careers, earlier this year, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, as a business representative organisation were charged with the task of bringing the LSIP to fruition, driving partnership and collaboration between colleges, universities, training providers and businesses with the overall objective of improving skills across the region, supporting economic growth, productivity and innovation.
Sara Williams, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and Chair of the LSIP board, said:
“I am delighted that the region will benefit from the Local Skills Improvement Fund. This will help transform the technical skills training through innovative projects across Staffordshire, improving and supporting the economic growth, productivity and innovation of businesses and the local economy.
“This will support in increasing collaboration between providers and employers leading to improved co-ordination and efficiencies across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.”
The funding will also make sure more people can access Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) – that sit between A Level, T Level, vocational courses and degrees – to gain in demand skills including digital, healthcare and engineering as alternative to a traditional three-year degree. HTQs are designed in close collaboration with employers, so they equip students will the skills they need to go onto further study or straight into a good job.
The investment in local areas is just one way the government is boosting skills, alongside a huge range of other high-quality programmes including T Levels, free courses for jobs and Skills Bootcamps.
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