£2.5 billion is being invested in the National Skills Fund by the Government to help adults across the UK gain the valuable knowledge required by employers to enter key sectors. In response Cheshire’s largest further education provider, Cheshire College, has launched a range of fully-funded flexible study programmes.
To celebrate the introduction of the National Skills Fund and the extensive courses made available by Cheshire College, MP for Crewe and Nantwich Dr Kieran Mullan met with local learners and employers at the College’s Crewe Campus. He heard first-hand how the National Skills Fund will directly benefit them.
Supporting the economic recovery, as well as enhancing the supply of skills employers increasingly require in such a competitive landscape, the National Skills Fund has been designed for adults who are looking to achieve their first full Level 3 Qualification. This is part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, a long-term commitment to remove the age constraints and financial barriers for adults accessing education.
Rated Good by Ofsted, Cheshire College has specifically selected courses which will meet the skill requirements across the region and boost job prospects within the Construction, Health, Digital, Business and Engineering sectors. Available across all of the College’s Campuses in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester, the courses comprise of varying lengths and delivery methods ensuring adults, regardless of their circumstances or current commitments, are able to easily access the study programmes.
Jasbir Dhesi, Principal and CEO of Cheshire College, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer these fully-funded study programmes for adults and have carefully selected qualifications in key sectors across Cheshire and Warrington, which we know address the skills employers require and also offer good prospects for those seeking employment or looking to progress within their current roles.
“As well as providing Construction, Health and Engineering qualifications as part of our National Skills Fund offer, we also appreciate the importance and need for adults to enhance their Digital skills and are offering programmes in this area too, as well as supporting new business start-ups to access the knowledge needed to grow their enterprises.”
As part of Dr Kieran Mullan’s visit to Cheshire College, he met with learners who are progressing onto Level 3 study programmes made possible by the National Skills Fund and also took part in a round table discussion with employers, the College works with to hear how the National Skills Fund will provide them with opportunities to upskill their current and future workforces for free.
Commenting on his visit, Dr Kieran Mullan said: “It was really great to hear first-hand from people studying at the College how the new funding for free courses is going to make a direct difference to them. Many of them had already taken that brave step to start getting qualifications after having been in the workplace for a long time – this will help them to go even further.
“It takes courage and belief in yourself to try something new. I would encourage everyone to look at the courses on offer and see if there is an opportunity for you and your family. Learning doesn’t and shouldn’t finish when you walk out of the school gates for the last time, no matter how long ago that was. There are skills shortages across our economy and if you can help fill them it helps you, it helps our economy and it helps our whole country to build back better.”
Any adults aged 24 and over who wants to achieve their first full Level 3 Qualification, which is equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma, or two full A Levels, will be able to access the College’s fully-funded courses.