Cambridgeshire and Peterborough secure £2.5m for new facilities and training opportunities from the Department for Education under the Local Skills Improvement Fund in a bid led by Cambridge Regional College (CRC). The additional funding centres around the provision of in-demand green and digital skills training at the region’s colleges including CRC, the College of West Anglia, West Suffolk College, Long Road, Hills Road and Inspire Education Group.
The funds will benefit projects across the region. At CRC funds will be used at the college’s Huntingdon campus to upgrade the tower block to enable the provision of retrofit diagnostics training to improve older homes’ and buildings’ energy efficiency. In addition to the repurposing of the tower block, accessibility will be improved with the installation of a new lift.
Green technology is one of the Local Skills Improvement Plan’s priority sectors as identified with local businesses and employers. The investment in Huntingdon builds on the site’s development to meet the region’s skills needs, following the investment of £2.5m in construction facilities to increase construction training capacity and opportunities. Demand for green skills is set to rise as the government works to create energy security and the UK heads towards net zero. The government’s Net Zero Growth Plan predicts that the transition to a green and sustainable future will support hundreds of thousands of exciting green job opportunities in areas such as heat pump installation and solar panel maintenance, electric vehicle manufacturing and environmental consultancy.
CRC is also launching new Air Source Heat Pump Installation training from its Energy Systems Centre, as well as the newly launched Electric Vehicle Charging Point Installation training provision at the Cambridge centre. The green and sustainable skills drive is seen across the college’s offering, weaved into the curriculum of vocational college courses, apprenticeships and adult education programmes.
People across the country are set to benefit from more skills training to help them launch and develop their careers in key industries, including the burgeoning green sector. The Local Skills Improvement Fund is providing £200m nationally, split out into local areas to offer more high-quality training opportunities to meet local skills needs.
As part of the government’s drive to improve changes, plug skill gaps and grow the economy, it will mean that Cambridge Regional College will be able to offer retrofit courses such as Understanding Domestic Retrofit, Energy Efficiency for Older and Traditional Buildings, and Retrofit Coordination and Risk Management and more.
Speaking on the Local Skills Improvement Fund, 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. These are long-term plans that will ensure every area can have a brighter future.”
Mark Robertson, Principal and CEO at Cambridge Regional College said: “We are delighted that construction property services businesses across Cambridgeshire will benefit from the ability to train and develop their employees locally in retrofit technology and processes.
“The retrofit academy to be located in Huntingdon will complement our increased construction skills training facilities as well as our Energy Systems Centre in Cambridge covering training across the different energy systems.
“A sustainable future is one we are committed to through our training and curriculum offer for the region’s workforce and in our own drive to make our own campus operations carbon neutral.”