The Department for Education has announced that colleges and independent training providers across Devon & Somerset are set to share in over £200 million of funding through the Local Skills Improvement Fund and Skills Injection Fund, which will support the region to offer more high-quality training opportunities to meet local skills needs.
Investment is being targeted to address the specific skills needs of each region across the UK, which local businesses and employers have identified as priority sectors in their Local Skills Improvement Plans, giving them access to the skilled workforce they need to grow.
The Local Skills Improvement Fund allocates £165m funding (£80m in 2023/24 and £85m in 2024/25) to colleges and training providers to work collaboratively to meet the employer skills needs identified in their area’s Local Skills Improvement Plans.
Alongside this, training providers will receive a share of £44 million from the Skills Injection Fund to support more people to take Higher Technical Qualifications – that sit between A level, T levels and degrees – to gain in demand skills including digital, health care and engineering as an alternative to a traditional three-year degree.
The ambitious aims of the Devon & Somerset LSIF responds directly to our LSIP key recommendations, which was informed by employers across the region in a series of forums, seminars and online surveying earlier this year.
Devon & Somerset Colleges and ITPs who have collaborated to submit the LSIF bid, will be directing the funding towards ensuring that our regional employers have the skills facilities and high-quality training delivery they need to be able to meet the demands of the future economy.
Helen Hart, Project Executive for the Devon & Somerset LSIP, said: “We welcome more funding to help our current and future workforce gain the skills they need to get good jobs and grow the local economy.
“This funding boost will support the region to offer more high-quality training opportunities to plug skills gaps in emerging key sectors such as green skills, construction, health and social care, digital and the creative industries, as outlined in our recent Local Skills Improvement Plan.”
Somerset Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Emma Rawlings, added: “We look forward to supporting the LSIF as it works on implementing the LSIP objectives over the next two years and are excited to see how we can transform our regional skills arena to become truly employer-led.”
Jane Gratton, Deputy Director of Public Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, commented: “Businesses are crying out for more people with technical skills to fill the great jobs we have today and new ones in the developing green economy.
“It’s vital that everyone can access the training they need locally to grasp these opportunities. Business-led LSIPs are setting out the skills needs and opportunities, and this new funding will ensure the right training solutions are put in place.”