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New £65 million Strategic Development Fund to support education provision endorsed by local employers

Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group)

Skills for Jobs round table reinforces Government’s recognition of Colleges as civic institutions as @WCollegeGroup CEO praises #SkillsforJobs white paper and plans bid for region’s first College Business Centre.

The CEO of a major Midlands college group has praised the Government’s latest reforms to place skills at the heart of economy and to increase the proportion of the population with technical qualifications.

Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group), was invited to join a round table discussion with Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan following the announcement of the Skills for Jobs White Paper.

The round table featured a small group of college leaders from across the country and this reinforced the Government’s recognition of Colleges as civic institutions who understand their communities.

The Government’s Skills for Jobs White Paper is set to revolutionise post-16 education in the UK, with employers engaged to ensure that Further Education delivery meets local skills needs.

As part of the commitment, Government is dedicating a new £65 million Strategic Development Fund to support education provision endorsed by local employers.

This could be used to invest in new facilities and equipment, the development of new provision in growing sectors or to set up College Business Centres.

College Business Centres will see colleges work alongside business groups to drive innovation and strengthen collaboration between education and employers.

WCG and Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce are seeking to further build on an excellent working relationship and collaborate in a bid to win one the region’s first College Business Centres.

Angela Joyce said:

“The new Skills for Jobs White Paper is a major step towards addressing years of underfunding for Further Education and will enable us to provide even more support for employers, individuals and our localities, in training a workforce both for now and the future.

“It was a pleasure to join with college leaders from all over the country on the round table discussion with Gavin Williamson.

“There was a real sense of optimism that we, as college leaders, will be getting clear and significant support from Government to deliver on their promise to transform the post-16 education landscape.

“We have a long-established partnership with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and are in an excellent position to be a trailblazer on the Government’s commitment to create College Business Centres across the UK.

“Over the coming days, we will further discuss our plans with the Chamber and soon be in a position to bring forward a tender to be a pilot college for one of these centres.”

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “We have a strong relationship with WCG and this is an excellent opportunity to build on that association.

“It’s essential that businesses across our patch have the access to a workforce which caters to their needs and the needs of the future economy.

“Further Education will be at the heart of developing the workforce of the future and we will be working closely with colleges across the region to help deliver on the Government’s skills commitment.”

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