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More than £4.2m funding announced for Barnsley College

Two electrical engineering students working with wiring stand with their teacher in a workshop

Barnsley College has been awarded more than £4.2m in funding from the Department for Education’s local skills improvement fund – which will go towards developing the future workforce in areas such as digital and green energy skills.

The college headed up the bid – which was endorsed by Doncaster Chamber of Commerce and supported by Sheffield College, RNN Group, DN Colleges Group, Northern College, Sheffield Hallam University, Communication Specialist College, and the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre – to address skills gaps identified in the local area.

Demand for green skills is set to rise as the government works to create energy security and the UK heads towards net zero. The college’s own net zero carbon ambitions, as part of the sustainability strategy, have directly informed the local skills improvement plan created for the bid.

The government’s Net Zero Growth Plan predicts the transition to a green and sustainable future will support hundreds of thousands of green job opportunities in areas such as heat pump installation and solar panel maintenance, electric vehicle manufacturing and environmental consultancy.

The funding will also make sure more people can access Higher Technical Qualifications – that sit between A level, T levels and degrees – to gain in-demand skills including digital, health care and engineering as alternatives to a traditional three-year degree. HTQs are designed in close collaboration with employers, so they equip students with the skills they need to go onto further study or straight into a good job.

David Akeroyd, Principal and CEO of Barnsley College, said: “This funding allows us to continue to our already established work in building the skills system for the future. We want to not only to seize upon opportunities for local growth in the areas that matter, but ensure our students go on to have the most impactful and rewarding careers.

“The collaboration is already starting to make the investments that will see developments in how we engage and train students to become our future workforce. Anyone who studies at Barnsley College will step into the world of work already on the front foot, due to the groundwork put in place here.

“Ensuring that we have the right offer in place is key to regional development and this work will help us do just that.”

Nikki Jones, director of the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre, said: “Securing this funding creates another exciting opportunity for the South Yorkshire region, enabling the area to invest further in more and better apprenticeships, new technologies and skills, with a focus on digitalisation.

“This fund is helping to support the needs of the Local Skills Improvement Plan, which has been developed alongside employers, to address current skills shortages and the needs of the manufacturing sector now and in the future. It’s great to be able to strengthen our collaboration further as training providers in the region.”

John Rees, CEO and Principal of DN Colleges Group, said: “DN Colleges Group are delighted to be part of the South Yorkshire Local Skills Improvement Fund project to support our local communities and specifically employers with the skills they need to succeed.

“This fund will allow us to realise some of our goals sooner than expected through use of this much needed investment from central government. Our strong partnership with South Yorkshire providers will ensure this project is a success.”

Andrew Hartley, Deputy Chief Executive of The Sheffield College, said: “We are delighted to secure funding to provide more higher level technical training opportunities in key industries. Higher level technical skills are vital for the careers of today and tomorrow, and to enable employers in our region to develop and grow.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “This investment is about boosting local industries, building people’s skills and ultimately futureproofing our economy and the career prospects of the next generation.

“Our local skills projects will bring together regional organisations, businesses and education providers to respond to the specific needs of employers, building an increasingly skilled workforce and growing local economies.

“Whether it is green skills, construction, engineering or digital, thousands more people can now gain the skills they need to secure good jobs closer to home.”

Barnsley College is one of 40 colleges to receive a share of more than £200m in funding. The total sum awarded is £4,257,817.

Last updated: 12th December 2023

Originally posted on: 10th November 2023

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