Surrey Chambers celebrates with colleges as they secure government funding to respond to employers’ skills needs

Colleges and Universities across Hampshire and Surrey are set to work together to better support the skills needs of the local economy and labour market with the introduction of the LSIF (Local Skills Improvement Fund).

This project, funded by the Department for Education and supported by Surrey Chambers of Commerce, will focus on providing more training opportunities in priority skills areas identified by local businesses and employers in the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) report, published earlier this year by Surrey Chambers.

The project will ensure local residents and businesses can access high-quality, technical education and training that meets future skills needs. Surrey Chambers’ members, and those engaged with the LSIP can help colleges and training providers with delivery of the project by working together and influencing what employers want to see within courses so that they can get the right skills being delivered for their business.

The project will help provide equipment and skills training needed in key sectors and in response to urgent calls from business for skills that are vital across the whole economy such as employability and professional skills.

The project will focus on a number of skills areas, including:

  • CreaTech: Investments in two new, state-of-the-art media production spaces to help respond to skills needs following recent growth in the gaming & immersive technologies and film & television sectors.
  • Advanced manufacturing, engineering, and construction: High value jobs in these sectors help us journey towards a low carbon economy. New facilities such as a Passive Low Carbon Technologies Centre, Welding and an Electronics workshops will help deliver the skills for these crucial jobs.
  • Digital: Recent reports have highlighted the seriousness of cyber security, the strengths of the local Space & Satellite sector, the opportunities of artificial intelligence and the impact of agri-tech on food security. Investments in this workstream will build on the successes of local digital clusters to capitalise on tech skills needed for a strong, low carbon, digital economy.
  • Employability and Professional skills: Feedback from employers cites gaps in employability and professional skills, all fundamental to onboarding new employees and supporting their onward and future development. New courses will help plug these gaps.

To find out more about the Local Skills Improvement Fund, including ways your business could engage and benefit, please contact jamie.mackay@enterprisem3.org.uk and laura.asbridge@sparsholtservices.ac.uk, Joint LSIF Project Managers.

To find out more about the Local Skills Improvement Project, including ways your business could engage and benefit, please contact the LSIP team at lsip@surrey-chambers.co.uk.

Louise Punter, Chief Executive at Surrey Chambers of Commerce said:

“During the past year, Surrey Chambers of Commerce has led on significant research with businesses and other key stakeholders to identify and outline the skills priorities for the area to help businesses prosper. We now welcome the opportunity to work with the collaboration of colleges on this project to help address these priorities through significant investment in (e.g.) new equipment, facilities and business engagement activity. Through our Future Skills Hub, we are also complementing these investments with new resources and events aimed at businesses and providers to help bring them closer together and solve skills gaps.