Cheshire and Warrington region has been selected by the Department for Education (DfE) and Institute of Technology (IoT) to lead on a highly prestigious project between employers and colleges that will see £14.2m invested within the region.
The IoT initiative is part of a wider government plan to equip young people with the technical skills they need in priority areas, such as advanced manufacturing, digital and cyber security, health and life sciences, agri-tech, construction, science and maths, which will also benefit local employers.
The project will mean direct investment for employers, local businesses and colleges in the Cheshire area with £14.2m capital investment, giving students within the region access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, providing them an ideal environment for learning and the opportunities to gain higher level technical qualifications.
Cheshire College – South & West is leading this joint venture, which also includes Warrington and Vale Royal College, Macclesfield College, Reaseheath College, University of Chester and Priestley College.
The IoT work to ensure world class training and education opportunities in the region and is a unique collaboration between employers, colleges and universities that specialise in offering high-quality higher technical education and training. In Cheshire, this training will be provided by top organisations such as Encirc, Warrington and Halton NHS Trust, Bruntwood SciTech at Alderley Park and JCB, keeping the region at the forefront of industry developments.
Lee Procter-Wright, Head of People Development at Encirc360, commented: “Being involved in the Cheshire and Warrington IOT provides an opportunity for us; as a local employer to engage with our local community and young people.
“The IoT provides a gateway to access and develop world-class technical skills that will feature heavily in the future skills market, enabling genuine employment opportunities. Our commitment to support the IOT through work-based education activities aligns well with our focus on future skills and opportunity in a Net Zero world.”
Dr Kath Mackay, Director of Life Sciences and Managing Director of Alderley Park, Bruntwood SciTech, added: “I’m thrilled that we will be supporting Cheshire and Warrington’s IoT from Alderley Park. Connecting the companies based at our campus with the right skills and talent is imperative to creating and retaining jobs in the region. With over 4,500 people now working at Alderley Park, I’m excited to be supporting the next generation of innovators and providing a platform into science and technology careers for our learners.”
The collaboration between the Cheshire and Warrington colleges, employers and universities is to ensure young people entering the workforce have the skills needed by employers to keep the region at the forefront of industry.
Mark Ireland, General Manager – Service at JCB, added: “Our partnership on the Cheshire and Warrington IoT will enable facility and equipment improvements at Reaseheath College that amplifies the delivery of a high-quality education and ultimately releases students into our Dealer businesses that are truly ready for work.”
Lucy Gardner, Director of Strategy and Partnerships, Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, also addressed the initiative’s importance in driving recruitment: “There are national challenges to recruitment and retention in healthcare, including roles with technical education and training.
“The Institute of Technology will enable us, in partnership with our local colleges, to train local people for local jobs, supporting recruitment to vital healthcare roles to support us to continue to provide high quality healthcare services, long into the future, to our local populations.”