College Collaborates in Successful Bid for Local Skills Improvement Fund

The Henley College is pleased to announce the success of their bid, in partnership with seven local colleges, for Local Skills Improvement Fund projects in Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The colleges can now implement their plans to begin delivering a range of skills development programmes for businesses and communities across Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

The colleges have been given £5m in total; £2.5m for each of the counties, to design, deliver and resource a range of courses to meet the future needs of their counties. The courses are primarily aimed at developing the skills of those already in employment and areas covered will include green construction skills, electric vehicle maintenance, advanced digital skills, and robotics. The programmes are part of Government’s continued plan for reshaping the technical skills system to better support the needs of the local labour markets, as set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper published in January 2021.

Part of this plan has seen the introduction of Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) developed with Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce in Oxfordshire and Berkshire; these plans have informed the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) bids to the Department for Education (DfE). This follows the successful delivery of Strategic Development Fund 2 (SDF2) projects by the same partnership.

Working within the Local Enterprise Partnership areas of Oxfordshire (OxLEP) and Berkshire (TVBLEP), The Henley College will be delivering these programmes in collaboration with Abingdon & Witney College, Activate Learning, Newbury College, New Directions College, Ruskin College and the Windsor Forest College Group including Berkshire College of Agriculture.

Eamonn Egan, Deputy Principal of The Henley College, said: “We are delighted to be working collaboratively with local colleges and businesses to design and develop cutting edge training programmes in robotics and digitisation, as The Henley College’s part in the Local Skills Improvement Fund project for the Thames Valley region. This has all been made possible by the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce production of the Local Skills Improvement Plan, which has brought colleges and business together in the work to bridge skills gaps in the region.

The project will also see the colleges work together to support the recruitment of new teachers into the sector, with a particular focus on designing solutions to address the difficulty in recruiting vocational specialists, including support for those looking to transition into teaching from industry.

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce has been designated as the employer representative body to implement and review the LSIPs for Oxfordshire and Berkshire. This continues to be done against a set of agreed priorities placing employers at the heart of their local skills system, creating more direct partnerships between employers and training providers.

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