MERSEYSIDE COLLEGES LEAD ON SKILLS DEVELOPMENT, AS COMBINED AUTHORITY APPROVES FUNDING TO SUPPORT ECONOMIC RECOVERY

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Six colleges across Merseyside have joined forces to create three brand new courses for adults in growing sectors, helping to bridge the skills gap and reduce unemployment levels within the Liverpool City Region.

The courses, funded through the devolved adult education budget, have been designed to upskill, reskill and retrain adults who have found themselves out of work or in unsustainable careers, enabling them to boost their employability in growing sectors of the economy; health and social care, digital and engineering.

The project marks the first time the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has invested in developing skills in this way. The six colleges that form the Merseyside Colleges Association (MCA), including The City of Liverpool College, Hugh Baird College, Knowsley College, Riverside College, St Helens College, Southport College and Wirral Metropolitan College, came together to combine their expertise to create courses that are responsive, relevant and purposeful.

Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, said:

“The devolution of the adult education budget allows us the flexibility to support this type of important initiative. Our local colleges are vital resources for our communities and these courses provide the skills many adults need to progress in their careers and which employers require in order to build their workforce.

“It’s fantastic to see how much can be achieved when the education providers in our region come together to collaborate and share expertise for the benefit of our economy.”

The first course in Engineering has begun and the colleges have already seen positive results, with learners picking up new skills that have allowed them to change roles in their workplace.

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

“This project is a great example of college collaboration. We are proud to be able to offer these courses to support growth and aid the recovery of the regional economy, and to do so with the support of our Combined Authority.

“This year has been a very stressful and difficult time for many adults and businesses, presenting challenges that none of us could have predicted and unfortunately resulting in job losses. These courses will help individuals gain employment or change career, as well as providing businesses in our city region with the talent they need to bridge their skills gaps.”

The first course in Engineering is nearing completion at Riverside College and has already seen excellent results with learners picking up new skills that have allowed them to change roles in their workplace. One student Owyn had worked for an engineering company that outsourced technical designs and his role was simply to operate a machine. Owyn can now design the components himself and design and manufacture whatever is required. His employer is delighted, as he has now acquired new skills that have allowed him to expand his job role and make a cost saving for the company. Owyn said “This course has really helped me develop, from someone working solely as a general fabricator, I have now expanded my role across the organisation to include design and manufacturing. I can see new potential for the company I work for as well as myself.”

The full range of courses will be available from April onwards at The City of Liverpool College, Hugh Baird College, Knowsley College, Riverside College, St Helens College, Southport College and Wirral Metropolitan College and are fully funded by the Combined Authority.

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