Kent’s Latest Innovations In Education And Skills On The Road

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Local Skills Improvement Plan
by Sarah Parrish

Patrons of the Chamber, MidKent College was one of three colleges in Kent bringing information to towns in the county throughout February and March about three new government-funded projects available to support skills training that will benefit Kent residents and businesses.

The Kent and Medway Skills bus, facilitated by project partner Runway Training, toured around Kent so that people who find it difficult to attend open days at colleges could find out more about the skills needed for the new jobs where it was convenient for them.

In November last year, East Kent Colleges Group, MidKent College and North Kent College were jointly awarded £5 million of government funding through the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF). The funding was awarded to support development of innovative training in sustainable construction, the digitalisation of healthcare, and the transition of experienced professionals into teaching to pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation. The Skills bus promoted education and courses to each area to reach as many people as possible. It was also available to young people and parents keen to discuss study options after GCSEs.

Graham Razey, Chief Executive Officer at East Kent Colleges Group – leading on the digitalisation of healthcare project, said: “Across our Group we’ve always had a firm commitment to playing a leading role in developing the social and economic prosperity of the diverse communities we serve. This skills bus will give us direct access straight into these communities, ensuring that we’re able to inspire action to develop the skills needed by employers in our locality. We’re working collaboratively with more employers than ever before, ensuring that those who engage with the skills bus get the best possible opportunities to achieve their ambitions in the career pathway of their choice.”  

MidKent College are leading the partnership’s focus on Sustainable Construction. Chris Hare, Deputy Chief Executive said: “Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce completed an incredibly detailed piece of work to identify areas of business growth here in Kent and Medway, and the skills that we’ll need to realise those ambitions. Together, the Kent Colleges have demonstrated that we’re in a brilliant position to help meet those needs and help local people develop the skills and knowledge that will help forward-thinking businesses across the South-East to thrive. The Skills Bus provided a great opportunity to engage with the business community and prospective students at their locality.  The conversations reinforced and strengthened the interest in Green Occupations and associated skills development, which provides confidence that our investment is aligned with local need.’

Mark Andrews, Deputy Executive Principal – Curriculum & Strategy at North Kent College, who are leading the college effort to help the transition from industry to teaching, said: “The Kent and Medway local skills improvement plan is all about raising the profile of careers in the sectors most in need of skilled talent, ensuring that training is delivering these skills, and connecting employers with students and educators. The skills bus communicates how we are modernising the curriculum in partnership with employers. Colleges have benefited from generous investment in the priority sectors in Healthcare, Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing and in Low Carbon Construction. We have been showcasing the cutting-edge technology used in our new curriculum, and the fabulous career opportunities made possible by business and education collaborations.”

Oliver Trailor, managing director of Runway Training, said: “We were delighted to partner with the Kent college groups to provide the bus service and tour Kent and Medway. We welcomed visitors on to the bus to meet with our college partners and find out more about the LSIF funded projects, wider skills provision, and lifelong learning opportunities”.

Chris Hare, Executive Director, MidKent College and Chair of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce