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Colleges across Sussex region to receive skills training funding boost

24 November 2023

People across the Sussex region are set to benefit from more skills training.

A consortium of Sussex colleges, led by Chichester College Group (CCG) in partnership with FE Sussex, is to receive £4.5million funding, as part of the Department for Education’s ‘Levelling Up’ programme.

The consortium, which includes Bexhill College, BHASVIC, College of Richard Collyer, East Sussex College Group, Plumpton College and Varndean College, will be working collaboratively to provide more high-quality training opportunities for local residents to support them into jobs locally.

From next year, they will be providing a number of exciting opportunities – all of which have been specifically aligned to Sussex’s key sectors, and the priorities identified by local employers in the Local Skills Improvement Plan.

Innovative projects have been given the go ahead, which will support people to gain the skills needed to launch and progress their careers in Sussex, and support the local economy to grow.

Chichester College Group has been awarded funding for two projects. The first will see the group develop and launch a programme of higher-level short courses to develop specialist skills to support content creation in the Hi-End TV sector, streaming services and postproduction.

It will also develop and establish a Sussex Centre for Vocational Leadership and Entrepreneurship, to support the development of leadership and management with a focus on the tourism and hospitality industry, as well as a support programme for aspiring managers and business owners in the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Andrew Green, Chief Executive Officer of Chichester College Group, said: “We’re delighted that our communities across Sussex will benefit from this investment in skills training.

“It is absolutely vital that, as colleges, we’re providing local industries with the skilled workforce to enable our economy to thrive.

“We know there some critical skills gaps for industries, as identified by the Local Skills Improvement Plan, and we’re excited to be working collaboratively with other education providers to support local people in accessing the training they need to fill these roles and gain skilled employment locally.

“Businesses have been struggling to recruit people with the right skills. Working together, in partnership with FE Sussex, we can develop a region-wide approach to improving skills-training which will hugely benefit all of our local areas.”

Jeremy Kerswell, Chair of FE Sussex and Principal of Plumpton College said:

“FE Sussex is excited to deliver LSIF projects that will improve the career prospects of thousands of learners across the region, and support local employers to grow their businesses.

“We will transform learners’ experience and by introducing new technologies into the classroom that will allow colleges to share teachers, and pioneer virtual reality learning. Our Centres for Entrepreneurship and Business Leadership will offer Sussex employers training to develop high level technical skills. These courses will be taken by employees in a way that suits business needs, whether that’s using virtual reality, online, or at an evening event.

“New websites and virtual reality will support young people to access the crucial careers advice they need on locally available industries and jobs. We are also delighted to pilot an innovative mobile app that will match Sussex vacancies with the most suitable job-seekers. This unique project will speed up the process for employers to hire the talent they need.”

Colleges and universities across the country will receive a share of £200 million to help transform skills training, so that local businesses can continue to tap into the skilled workforce they need to thrive, while helping more people to secure good jobs closer to home.

The funding has been awarded by Government for Local Skills Improvement Plans and development fund pilots. Colleges and other providers across the country are receiving a share of the £165million Local Skills Improvement Fund to invest in a range of projects, focusing on long-term skills priorities of local areas.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “This investment is about boosting local industries, building people’s skills and ultimately futureproofing our economy and the career prospects of the next generation.

“Our local skills projects will bring together regional organisations, businesses and education providers to respond to the specific needs of employers, building an increasingly skilled workforce and growing local economies.

“Whether it is green skills, construction, engineering or digital, thousands more people can now gain the skills they need to secure good jobs closer to home. These are long-term plans that will ensure every area can have a brighter future.”