Liverpool City Region secures £4.5million skills funding boost

In partnership with the Liverpool City Region’s Further Education colleges and training providers, we are delighted to have secured a share of the government’s £165million Local Skills Improvement Fund.

The fund will support six projects being delivered through a collaborative partnership involving the region’s six Further Education (FE) Colleges – The City of Liverpool College, Hugh Baird College, Riverside College, Wirral Met College, the SK College Group and Southport College.

Designed to support the priorities of the Region’s Local Skills Improvement Plan, the award of £4.5million will be used to strengthen relationships with local Chambers of Commerce and forms part of a government drive to level up the country by getting more people into quality jobs close to home, while plugging skills gaps across key sectors including advanced, manufacturing, logistics, and construction.

Of the total amount, £3.5million will be directed towards capital projects, including the acquisition of advanced equipment to ensure that college facilities are state-of-the-art and ready to meet the evolving needs of the industry. A further £1million has been allocated for revenue projects, specifically targeting innovation in vocational training across the digital and low carbon economies. It will also support recruitment ensuring local talent is accessible to prospective employers and able to benefit from emerging careers opportunities across the City Region’s diverse economy.

Some of the key projects include the creation of a central talent bank to connect employers with local talent, the development of virtual Freeport skills academy and new, flexible training programs for employers. And, save the date for March 2024 – the colleges will be hosting a skills summit for the Liverpool City Region in collaboration with the City Region’s Chambers of Commerce.

This opportunity is the result of a collaborative effort across the region’s FE providers that not only included the colleges, but also through joint working with the Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation. The Local Skills Improvement Fund project closely aligns with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority skills strategy - its primary focus being enhancing access to training for the progression of the region's workforce into technical and higher technical occupations, as well as bolstering the provision of digital skills. Additionally, it seeks to enhance the region's competitiveness and productivity while aiming to achieve its Net Zero targets.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

The funding package is a huge boost for upskilling the Liverpool City Region, while encouraging more people to take Higher Technical Qualifications.

Elaine Bowker, Principal at City of Liverpool College, said:

As an anchor institution for the City Region, we are privileged to have led the bid to secure part of the Local Skills Improvement Fund. This journey sees us joining hands with other forward-thinking institutions, all committed to shaping a brighter and more sustainable future through education and skills development. Together, we're working toward creating thriving communities, resilient industries, and a workforce equipped for the challenges of tomorrow.

Rachael Hennigan, Chair of the Association of Liverpool City Region Colleges said:

The FE Colleges in Liverpool City Region both serve their local borough communities and work collaboratively: to design and deliver programmes for the wider City Region. Building on earlier success of the Skills Development Fund, this new Local Skills Investment Fund will continue to support the design of new curriculum and skills that will help to create a cleaner, greener economy, contributing to the City Region’s ambition to be net carbon zero by 2040.

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