£3.5m funding boost for pioneering skills campus

Published 8th February 2017 at 9:21am

Pioneering plans to fills the skills gap have been given a £3,500,000 boost by Sheffield City Region (SCR).

The SCR Combined Authority has agreed to fund infrastructure works which will allow construction to start on a new higher education campus for Rotherham College opening in Autumn 2018.

The ‘Rotherham Centre for Higher Level Skills’, on brownfield land at Doncaster Gate, will provide higher level learning in areas such as IT services and digital design; health care – both nursing and technical roles; business and enterprise including management, legal and accountancy services, sales and entrepreneurial skills; construction; and engineering, where retiring workers will need to be replaced.

An important part of the college approach is that local employers have been consulted and will be closely involved in designing courses, which will include degrees, higher apprenticeships, and HNC/Ds. They will also create links to live vacancies, and tap into professional training and updating for their workforce.

And the approach to encouraging participation is also new: to make students feel comfortable about learning, the Centre is deliberately placed away from the further education campus in the town centre college. Smaller groups with good tutor support will help students develop the confidence and the skills to move into higher level jobs in Rotherham and across the region. They might also progress to further study and develop their career at a higher level.

On average 43% of Rotherham residents are from disadvantaged backgrounds and only 23% of adults have a Level 4 qualification compared to the national average of 36%. This hampers businesses needing a skilled workforce and means that many Rotherham families have low incomes.

Nigel Brewster, Vice Chair of the SCR Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is an important and welcome development which will help both adult students and our regional businesses. We have backed the funding because we know there is a skills gap in the region and we want to help address it.

“This investment in infrastructure will help companies who will be able to recruit skilled workers and grow their businesses, creating more jobs.

“It is an exciting and visionary way forward which will benefit the whole region.”

  • North Nottinghamshire College’s umbrella organisation RNN Group has completed a merger with Dearne Valley College, bolstering its presence across the Sheffield City Region. The merger partners those two colleges with Rotherham College and apprenticeship provider RNN Training, plus a number of subsidiary companies in specialist training sectors.

Chief executive John Connolly said: “Students will benefit from a wider curriculum and improved facilities, while employers will have access to a comprehensive range of training and apprenticeship provision to upskill and grow their workforce.”

Dearne Valley College will retain its local identity and current campus in Manvers.

 

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