Work for us

Join Abingdon & Witney College, an award-winning employer

Work for Us

Local Skills Improvement Fund continues FE collaboration across Oxfordshire and Berkshire

29th Nov 2023

Local Skills Improvement Fund continues FE collaboration across Oxfordshire and Berkshire, delivering skills for businesses.

Abingdon & Witney College is pleased to announce the success of their bid, in partnership with seven local colleges, for Local Skills Improvement Fund projects in Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The colleges can now implement their plans to begin delivering a range of skills development programmes for businesses and communities across Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

The colleges have been given £5m in total; £2.5m for each of the counties, to design, deliver and resource a range of courses to meet the future needs of their counties. The courses are primarily aimed at developing the skills of those already in employment and areas covered will include green construction skills, electric vehicle maintenance, advanced digital skills, and robotics. The programmes are part of Government’s continued plan for reshaping the technical skills system to better support the needs of the local labour markets, as set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper published in January 2021.

Part of this plan has seen the introduction of Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) developed with Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce in Oxfordshire and Berkshire; these plans have informed the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) bids to the Department for Education (DfE). This follows the successful delivery of Strategic Development Fund 2 (SDF2) projects by the same partnership.

Working within the Local Enterprise Partnership areas of Oxfordshire (OxLEP) and Berkshire (TVBLEP), Abingdon & Witney College will be delivering these programmes in collaboration with Activate Learning, The Henley College, Newbury College, New Directions College, Ruskin College, and the Windsor Forest College Group including Berkshire College of Agriculture.

Jacqui Canton, Principal and Chief Executive of Abingdon & Witney College, said: “The LSIF projects provide an excellent opportunity for the local FE colleges to continue working collaboratively on developing and delivering training solutions to local skills needs. For us, primarily focused on green skills in construction, and aimed at upskilling those already in employment.

Our projects were informed by the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce’s LSIP, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate closely with them and other stakeholders in these developments across our region.”

The project will also see the colleges work together to support the recruitment of new teachers into the sector, with a particular focus on designing solutions to address the difficulty in recruiting vocational specialists, including support for those looking to transition into teaching from industry.

“The recruitment of specialist vocational teachers is something that all FE colleges find challenging, so working together to find a solution for the sector is something very exciting,” added Jacqui.

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce has been designated as the employer representative body to implement and review the LSIPs for Oxfordshire and Berkshire. This continues to be done against a set of agreed priorities placing employers at the heart of their local skills system, creating more direct partnerships between employers and training providers.