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£2.5 million skills boost for Cornwall

The funding will move skills training into the future in Cornwall

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Published Friday 1 December 2023

People across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are set to benefit from more skills training including in Retrofit, Modern Methods of Construction, Heat Pump Technologies, Engineering and Boatbuilding.

From next year, colleges and other training providers across the county will start to offer these exciting opportunities, which have been specifically aligned to the priority sectors identified by local employers in the Local Skills Improvement Plan, which was led and delivered for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by the Federation of Small Businesses.

Across the region, employers identified the two sectors of Construction and Retrofit and Manufacturing, Engineering and Marine as priorities alongside cross-sector skills challenges in digital, green and employability.

Lead applicant Truro and Penwith College, along with delivery partners The Cornwall College Group, Cornwall Marine Network Ltd and Focus Training Ltd, have received a total of £2.5 million from the Department for Education’s Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) 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 will move skills into the future in Cornwall

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

Truro and Penwith College will use the LSIF investment to expedite infrastructure and curriculum developments, with a focus on the development and piloting of higher-level qualification pathways and CPD programmes for existing Construction sector employees in modern methods of construction and retrofit, as guided by the industry-led Sustainable Construction Advisory Panel that the College established in May 2023.

A construction apprentice lifts tools smiling at the camera in protective wear.
Construction careers will get a boost

For the Engineering and Manufacturing sector, the College will expand the pioneering provision that it has undertaken as part of the South West Institute of Technology with further occupational and professional training, Electric Vehicle programmes and, response to the skills needs highlighted in the Local Skills Improvement Plan, bespoke provision in Leadership, Management, Quality Improvement and Lean.

The College will expand its pioneering Electric Vehicle training.

The College’s delivery partners will also utilise the Local Skills Improvement Fund to support the creation of cutting-edge training facilities and innovative new programmes. Cornwall Marine Network will provide professional upskilling provision including hydraulics, pneumatics, composites and electronics within employer-based Centres of Excellence whilst Focus Training will establish new programmes for businesses in Heat Pumps, Solar PV, Electric Vehicle Charging, Water Harvesting and the design, installation and commissioning of Electrical Energy Storage Systems.

The Cornwall College Group will invest in institutional specialisms of engineering and manufacturing, marine and construction; providing state-of-the-art interactive learning facilities equipped with cutting-edge equipment and digital technology to deliver the skills needed for the green economy. This builds on the recent investment of £13m refurbishing the Camborne campus and the circa £40m new campus build at St Austell.

Martin Tucker, Principal of Truro and Penwith College said: “We are delighted to be leading on the Local Skills Improvement Fund for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The investment supports the expansion and upgrading of resources to align with modern methods of Construction and support the critical Engineering and Manufacturing sector. The fund is allowing us to create new workshop and classroom facilities to accommodate the growth in apprenticeship numbers and upgrade our facilities and provision across our campuses.”

Ann Vandermeulen, FSB Development Manager for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly said: “I am really pleased to see that this fund has been granted to support the CIoS Local Skills Improvement Plan. A plan, driven and funded by the Department for Education, which sets out to create better conduit for businesses and training providers to work together in creating a skilled talent pool in our workforce and to secure well paid, interesting and meaningful jobs for the future.”

John Evans, Principal of The Cornwall College Group (TCCG) added: “We are proud to be a partner in delivering the strategic aims of the local skills improvement plan (LSIP) for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The plan focuses on key industries for growth and development across the region including marine, engineering, manufacturing, construction and retrofit.

“Working with stakeholders and employers, The Cornwall College Group will continue to develop programmes that help to upskill the workforce and highlight the opportunities available in these key growth areas to future proof the long-term success of industries in the region building on being recognised this year as the top performing college for Apprenticeships in the South West.”

Jamie Rail, Managing Director, The Focus Training Group, added: “The Focus Training Group are delighted to be part of this project, that will both upskill local people, whilst at the same time helping the region play its part in helping the government reach its Net-zero commitments.

“To reach these commitments we will need to reskill people from traditional industries with low carbon skills, such as Solar PV, Battery Storage, Electrical Vehicle Charging and Heat Pumps. This project will give this a kickstart to upskilling in Cornwall.”

Paul Wickes, CEO, Cornwall Marine Network, added: “We are delighted to be a part of such a forward thinking and dynamic partnership. The investment will act as a catalyst, building on the excellent resources already available and transforming employer led skills provision in these strategically crucial sectors for C&IoS. The fund is allowing us to develop co-designed employer-based training academies focusing on Hydraulics, Pneumatics, Boatbuilding and Marine Repair.”

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.

“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.”

The funding will also make sure more people can access Higher Technical Qualifications – that sit between A level, T levels and degrees – to gain in demand skills including digital, health care and engineering as alternative to a traditional three-year degree.

HTQs are designed in close collaboration with employers, so they equip students with the skills they need to go onto further study or straight into a good job.

The investment in local areas announced today is just one way the government is boosting skills, alongside a huge range of other high-quality programmes including T levels, free courses for jobs and Skills Bootcamps.

More than 40,000 people started a Skills Bootcamp in the last financial year, exceeding the government’s ambitious target. Skills Bootcamps are free short courses with an offer of a job interview on completion.

They are available across the country in a wide range of subjects including heat pump engineering, electric vehicle maintenance, and digital.

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