Skills Training Boost for Southwest to Support More People into Jobs Locally

13 November 2023

  • More high-quality training opportunities will soon be available, supporting people to kick start careers in engineering, green construction, and cyber security.
  • Training including apprenticeships and Higher Technical Qualifications will help meet the growing demand for these skills across the region.
  • Part of government drive to get more people into good jobs closer to home, plug skills gaps and grow the economy.

People across the South-West are set to benefit from more skills training including in electric vehicle charging systems, solar panel installation and data analytics.

From next year, colleges and other training providers across the region will start to offer these exciting opportunities, which have been specifically aligned to the priority sectors identified by local employers in their Local Skills Improvement Plans. Across the region, employers identified skills including digital, construction and engineering as priorities.

Colleges and universities will receive a share of £200 million to help transform skills training so that local businesses can continue to tap into the skilled workforce they need to thrive, while helping more people to secure good jobs closer to home.

Innovative projects have given the go ahead, which will support people to gain the skills needed to launch careers in the green sector and support the local economy to grow.

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College will use the LSIF to train more construction apprentices and enhance its digital infrastructure, allowing students to access technology they can expect to use in industry. Partner colleges within the GFirst LSIF collaboration will also modernise their libraries and develop a SMART livestock hub, using digital technology to influence and direct the way livestock feed, milk, and reproduce.


West of England IoT will work with the Colleges and the Training Providers within the region to develop a series of projects to improve College estates and infrastructure to support the development of new and refreshed courses to help employers deliver their future skills needs and to create future prosperity for the region.  We aim to increase the awareness of the offer in the region through a number of engagement activities,  these include a teacher CPD programme,  “ask the provider events”  and a local Employer guide on the support in the region.

Claire Arbery, Director of the WEIoT said:

“We are delighted to be leading on the Local Skills Improvement Fund for the West of England IoT, building on the successful partnership working in the region to draw in further investment to the West of England region.

“The investment supports the expansion and upgrading of resources for engineering, construction, digital and health, which is needed to accommodate the demand for growth in skills training that has been achieved at all colleges and to provide support for Apprenticeship across the whole region.

“The West of England IoT is fully committed to driving the numbers of residents studying technical education qualifications, and ensuring that all have access to the opportunities that technical education afford.”


Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said:

“This investment is about boosting local industries, building people’s skills and ultimately future-proofing 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.”

As part of the government’s work to support more people to gain the skills they need to secure rewarding careers, the British Chambers of Commerce and other employer representative organisations were commissioned to lead work to publish local skills improvement plans, published in the summer, so the training on offer better meets the current and future skills needs of local areas.

Jane Gratton, Deputy Director of Public Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Businesses are crying out for more people with technical skills to fill the great jobs we have today and new ones in the developing green economy.

“It’s vital that everyone can access the training they need locally to grasp these opportunities.

“Business-led LSIPs are setting out the skills needs and opportunities, and this new funding will ensure the right training solutions are put in place.”

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 alternative 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.

The investment in local areas announced today is just one way the government is boosting skills, alongside a huge range of other high-quality programmes including T levels, free courses for jobs and Skills Bootcamps.

More than 40,000 people started a Skills Bootcamp in the last financial year, exceeding the government’s ambitious target. Skills Bootcamps are free short courses with an offer of a job interview on completion.

They are available across the country in a wide range of subjects including heat pump engineering, electric vehicle maintenance, and digital.