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Local community upskilling to come from funding injection

A major funding boost of £165m is being dispersed to local communities across the country, boosting the areas through enhanced skill training importunities in the bid to reduce commuting and get people jobs closer to home.

The Local Skills Improvement Fund is to have an application process available to further education providers, where the money will be allocated to renovate the existing infrastructure and facilities, providing them with modern equipment, and teaching upskill programmes.

The fund will deliver new educational courses in a variety of new and key subject areas such as green construction, carbon capture and cyber security, designed to meet the needs of local employers. This targeted approach will work to fill existing skill gaps across the country.

With thousands of people set to benefit from the skills training, local economies will likely welcome major boosts, seeing employers have access to a workforce that is adequately equipped with the requisite skills to help businesses grow.

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said:

“Building a world-class skills and apprenticeships nation means listening to the specific needs of local people, businesses, and institutions.

“This funding will revolutionise how we plug local skills gaps and provide a boost to the economy. Supporting colleges to better meet the needs of local employers not only boosts businesses, it extends the ladder of opportunity to even more people from all backgrounds who will be equipped with the skills they need to secure a rewarding job close to home.”

The successful applicant will receive subsequent funding to invest across a broad range of initiatives that are predicated on the specific priorities that have been identified by the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP). These plans stem from employer representative bodies that establish the changes and priorities required to make post-16 technical training more closely aligned to local labour market needs.

Coming as part of the Green Academy Partnership, New City College is the project lead for a collective of 13 colleges across London, which has received a share of £961k revenue and £1.5m capital SDF funding for Green Labs, seeing the delivery of investment into new technologies for the low carbon and renewables sector.

Jamie Stevenson, Group Executive Director at New City College said:

“Being the project lead for the Central London Forward SDF project has enabled us, alongside local employers and stakeholders, to pioneer a new way of working. From the project’s inception, we have worked collaboratively to identify and meet the local need for high quality technical training to develop green skills. This has included upskilling teaching staff and setting an industry-leading standard for low carbon energy learning labs.”

Four colleges in the West of England, including Weston College, have received a share of £1.2m revenue and £1.5m capital SDF funding to invest in training and state-of-the-art equipment for the Aerospace, Advanced Engineering and Health and Social Care sectors.

Sir Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College said:

“This funding has been a catalyst for change for our delivery of skills in the West of England, bringing together educational providers and employers around the table to ensure partnerships are both proactive and effective.”

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