From education to employment

Training providers and colleges struggling to recruit get thrown lifeline and funding


North East colleges and training providers are being offered a lifeline and generous government grants to help them address ongoing trainer/teacher and assessor shortages.

Gateshead-based Access Training – which itself has found recruiting trainers challenging – has launched two Learning and Skills programmes at levels 3 and 5 to help further education (FE) providers hire industry-experienced trainers, aided by up to £21,200 of funding.

The qualifications can be studied as part of an apprenticeship or as a standalone qualification. The level 5 course attracts an employer grant via the Taking Teaching Further government initiative, where FE providers can claim £15,200-£21,200 for up to three employees.

Access Training received a grant last year to recruit fire, emergency and security systems engineer Paul Shepherd direct from the fire and security sector and he is now working towards becoming a qualified trainer.

He said: “I’ve come full circle because I started my career journey as an apprentice with Access Training over 18 years ago, became an engineer for almost two decades, and now I’m passing my knowledge and experience on to the next generation. I’m enjoying being able to bring real work scenarios into the classroom, which the learners really respond to.”

The employer grant is available to qualify trainers/teachers in 15 sectors, which are: agriculture, environmental and animal care; business and administration; care services; catering and hospitality; construction and the built environment; creative and design; digital; education and childcare; engineering and manufacturing; hair and beauty; health and science; legal, finance, and accounting; protective services; sales, marketing, and procurement; and transport and logistics.

Any employers that are interested in enrolling new staff or recruiting them must register their interest by 14 June on the government website.

Director of Training at Access Training, Sharon Wallace, said: “We’ve found it increasingly difficult to recruit training staff over the last few years, especially for some of our more niche programmes. After being advised about the Taking Teaching Further grants – recruiting and training people from industry and putting them through a teaching qualification was the obvious solution. It works well because our learners benefit from the recent real world experience their trainer brings to the classroom and it supports those people in industry who are looking to make a career change.”

“We have launched the Learning and Skills programme at levels 3 & 5 to help other FE providers fill their teaching vacancies. We have an excellent reputation amongst our fellow providers for the quality of our delivery. As one of only 13 certified Expert Training Providers nationwide, with our fifth consecutive Good grade at Ofsted and achievement rates higher than the national average in every apprenticeship we deliver, we believe we’re very well placed to be able to train the industry’s newest recruits.”

To access the grant, recruits have to be new to their post between 1 Feb 2024 and 31 January 2025. 

The first intake for the new Learning and Skills Apprenticeship at Access Training is in September.

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