Tech support

Thousands more adults expected to benefit from new technical skills


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Thousands of working adults will soon benefit from free courses that will help them upgrade or retrain quickly, as part of the government’s drive to close skills gaps and improve access to alternatives better quality training.

Sixty-five short, modular courses will start rolling out later this month at 10 Institutes of Technology (IoT) across England in sought-after STEM subjects. This will include courses such as artificial intelligence, digitization of manufacturing, digital construction, agricultural robotics, and cybersecurity.

The courses will be a mix of classroom and online distance study, and will vary in length from 50 to 138 hours, giving more adults greater flexibility in how and when to learn, so that ‘they can adapt it to their lives. Swindon and Wiltshire IoT, for example, will offer five short 50-hour courses over eight weeks.

The programs will be available to working adults aged 19 and over, with priority given to those employed locally for IoT, in related industries such as digital or healthcare. IoTs have worked in partnership with local employers to ensure that courses fill existing skills gaps, meaning employees in large companies and SMEs will be able to learn new skills or retrain – so they can move towards more qualified and better paid jobs in their field.

Separately, more than 100 higher and higher education providers have also received a share of £ 18million to invest in new equipment, such as virtual reality glasses, therapeutic children’s play equipment and testing equipment. air quality that will help them provide more technical training. The funding will also help them strengthen links with local businesses in key sectors such as digital, construction and healthcare, so employers can tap into the talented workforce they need for jobs in the world. tomorrow.

Higher and Higher Education Minister Michelle Donelan said:

Ensuring that more people can train and develop at any stage of their lives into high-skilled, well-paying jobs is at the heart of our plans.

These fantastic new courses will open up more training alternatives for adults, fill the skills gaps in our economy and increase opportunities across the country.

We are also investing up to £ 18million to support more than 100 higher and higher education providers to expand the higher technical education on offer to their local communities.

The government network of institutes of technology – collaborations between leading employers, higher education institutions and universities – specializes in delivering high-quality higher technical education and training in the fields science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering, providing employers with the skilled workforce they need.

A total of £ 6.4million is being invested to support IoT to deliver free courses, which will help up to 4,000 working adults start on a path to a rewarding new career and fill skills shortages. local skills.

The Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology will be hosting courses for the medical technology and engineering sectors, including one on anesthesia and operating room equipment. This will allow someone already working in medical engineering to acquire new skills in the use, calibration and maintenance of anesthesia and operating room equipment, opening up new options for progression on their own. workplace.

Dudley College of Technology Director and CEO Neil Thomas said:

As a principal partner of the Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology, Dudley College is truly delighted to be a part of this project. The goal of IoT is to provide employers and local residents with new, higher-level training opportunities, and initiatives like this give us the opportunity to develop training solutions that truly meet the needs of employers. local.

The industry-relevant course content and accessible, user-friendly delivery model are what employers demand. As part of the pilot, the IoT is supporting the medical technology and advanced engineering sectors, and we have already enrolled staff from employers like Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.

Bedford College Group Deputy Director Georgina Ager said:

In order to prepare for higher technical qualifications, we invest in the training and development of staff. We have undertaken workforce planning exercises to model the gaps in staffing skills that we may face in the future. Where gaps exist, we invest in staff to upgrade skills and retrain to ensure our staff have the latest industry and academic knowledge to deliver higher technical qualifications.

Additionally, we ensure that our facilities meet industry standards to ensure that our learners and employer partners can access and train on equipment that meets current industry standards.

Boosting the uptake and quality of higher technical qualifications – which fall between A-levels and diplomas – and helping adults to study more flexibly throughout their lives is a key part of landmark government reforms in the area of ​​education. education and training after 16 years.

An in-depth review of higher technical education has found that these qualifications can unlock the skills employers need and lead to well-paying jobs. However, it also shows that the quality of qualifications offered by providers of higher and further education can be variable and that it can be difficult for students and employers to find the right ones for them.

From September 2022, the government will start rolling out the newly approved higher technical qualifications, starting with digital, then construction and health in 2023. A full range of qualifications will be available by 2025.

Higher technical qualifications will provide a natural progression path for young people passing T or A levels and adults seeking further development or retraining, allowing them to take the next step and acquire higher technical skills. in key subjects like STEM.

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