It was announced today, that the government has launched a £165 million fund to fill local employer skill gaps. The fund will help to transform skills training in local communities and help get more people into jobs closer to home. Further education providers are invited to apply for cash from the Local Skills Improvement Fund, which will be used to renovate facilities with up-to-date equipment, help to upskill teachers, and deliver new courses in key subjects such as green construction, carbon capture and cyber security that meet the needs of local employers.
It will also provide a boost to local economies, as employers will have access to a workforce which is equipped with the specific skills businesses need to grow. The initiative builds on the success of the Strategic Development Fund, which has already made £157 million available to the further education sector to invest in a range of projects that have had a huge impact on plugging skills gaps in communities up and down the country.
Matt Ravenhill, Director, EMEA Corporate Learning at D2L offers the following statement:
“The government and enterprises have a joint responsibility to help prepare individuals for the jobs of tomorrow. However, to truly deliver skills for life and meet the needs of local communities, there needs to be a serious cultural change in the way we deliver learning. The new local skills fund should be used in accordance with ongoing business challenges and the current job market. Especially if we are looking to fill roles or gaps that require the more complex skills and far personalised or tailored learning pathways.
“The government needs to communicate with businesses when allocating these funds to courses and work far more closely with industry experts to ensure that the needs of that specific industry are being addressed. For example, it may be more useful to a business and the employee, to deliver shorter courses, using blended learning, maybe even part-time around work schedules to compliment current learning objectives. However, these need to be flexible and tailored training programmes that enable workers top up or fine tune their skills on a regular basis.
“Shorter courses, such as micro-credentials, can also provide routes into alternative areas of work, such as automation, AI and green construction where there are currently gaps, for those who may wish to explore new opportunities or develop a broader set of skills at pace. These courses can be delivered ‘on demand’ through flexible learning pathways that provide a way to rapidly upskill or train employees of all experience levels in targeted areas. By doing so, organisations can customise skills sets for specific individuals and adapt their courses to fit specific business needs should circumstances change. Training can also be easily integrated into current workplaces and around busy schedules.”