Local colleges join forces to improve skills provision in Worcestershire

Three major Worcestershire colleges have joined forces to ensure education and training provision is developing skilled workers to support the needs of the regional economy.

College group WCG, Kidderminster College and Heart of Worcestershire College have secured funding through the Government’s Skills Accelerator Progression Fund to launch the collaboration.

Heart of Worcestershire College is leading the ‘Connectors’ project which will focus on how colleges can implement the Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIP) in Worcestershire.

The Skills Accelerator programme, including the LSIP, is a key part of the Government’s blueprint for reshaping the technical skills system – ensuring educational provision meets the skills demands of the region.

The partnership will aim to reshape technical skills training in the region. It will bring employers, colleges, other education providers and stakeholder organisations together to highlight where improvement needs to be made.

By listening to employers, training across all three colleges will more responsive to the skills needs or employers and adapt to the challenges businesses face in Worcestershire.

The partnership has already started engaging with employers through its Connectors Employer Survey.

Responses have seen employers provide information, intelligence, evidence and advice regarding investment, training, skills need and future recruitment to their workforces.

The colleges will now assess the findings of the survey and identify solutions and opportunities to overcome barriers and challenges identified by the feedback from employers.

Connectors will also seek to drive more funding for education in the region and foster a collaborative approach to future funding applications, strengthen those applications and ultimately receive more financial backing for skills training in Worcestershire.

The Skills Accelerator programme is a key part of the Government’s blueprint for reshaping the technical skills system – ensuring educational provision meets the skills demands of the region.

College group WCG has three sites in the region, including Pershore College, Evesham College and provision at Malvern Hills Centre for Digital and Cyber Technology.

Sarah Butterfield, Director of Adult Learning and Commercial Development at WCG, said: “It is in the best interest of all education institutions in Worcestershire to ensure we are supporting the skills needs of the economy.

“That is why we have partnered with Kidderminster College and Heart of Worcestershire College on this project and will continue to work with them to drive forward the skills agenda in the region.

“We have seen a great response to the initial survey and now it is down to the partnership to take stock of the results and ensure that we make changes where possible to deliver on the needs of employers in Worcestershire.

“This collaborative approach will allow us to develop an effective strategy that caters to the skills needs of the region and have the three largest colleges pulling in the same direction to bridge that skills gap.”

To find out more about the Connectors project visit www.wcg.ac.uk/page/1992/connectors