PEOPLE across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are set to benefit from more skills training including in Retrofit, Modern Methods of Construction, Heat Pump Technologies, Engineering and Boatbuilding.

From next year, colleges and other training providers across the county will start to offer these opportunities, which have been specifically aligned to the priority sectors identified by local employers in the Local Skills Improvement Plan, which was led and delivered for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by the Federation of Small Businesses.

Across the region, employers identified the two sectors of Construction and Retrofit and Manufacturing, Engineering and Marine as priorities alongside cross-sector skills challenges in digital, green and employability.

Lead applicant Truro and Penwith College, along with delivery partners The Cornwall College Group, Cornwall Marine Network Ltd and Focus Training Ltd, have received a total of £2.5 million from the Department for Education’s Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) 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 been 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.

Truro and Penwith College will use the LSIF investment to expedite infrastructure and curriculum developments, with a focus on the development and piloting of higher-level qualification pathways and CPD programmes for existing Construction sector employees in modern methods of construction and retrofit, as guided by the industry-led Sustainable Construction Advisory Panel that the College established in May 2023.

Martin Tucker, Principal of Truro and Penwith College said: “We are delighted to be leading on the Local Skills Improvement Fund for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The investment supports the expansion and upgrading of resources to align with modern methods of Construction and support the critical Engineering and Manufacturing sector.

"The fund is allowing us to create new workshop and classroom facilities to accommodate the growth in apprenticeship numbers and upgrade our facilities and provision across our campuses."

Ann Vandermeulen, FSB Development Manager for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly said: “I am really pleased to see that this fund has been granted to support the CIoS Local Skills Improvement Plan.

"A plan, driven and funded by the Department for Education, which sets out to create better conduit for businesses and training providers to work together in creating a skilled talent pool in our workforce and to secure well paid, interesting and meaningful jobs for the future.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “This investment is about boosting local industries, building people’s skills and ultimately futureproofing our economy and the career prospects of the next generation.

“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.”

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.