GM Colleges secure £8.4m funding to address skills gap

Immersive learning environments

Nine Further Education colleges have secured over £8.4m of funding from the Government’s Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) to help address the skills gap across Greater Manchester.

GMColleges developed a response to the government’s Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), focusing on four key sector areas: education workforce, construction, health, digital and engineering, manufacturing with main cross-cutting themes of digitization and net zero.

The capital investment is being made in green technologies, anatomage tables and electric vehicles along with the creation of immersive learning environments.

The projects will see the colleges implement a collaborative approach to enhance the curriculum offer and open up new progression opportunities through the development of new courses, improved learner experience through AI and augmented reality and provide new technologies to teach. 

They will also develop software alongside teaching and learning resources to teach in the immersive learning environments, while upskilling the workforce and increasing employer contributions and partnerships.

A range of key partnerships will support the project such as Cisco, Manchester Digital, the Supply Chain Sustainability School, Greater Manchester Chamber, Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network (GMLPN), the Greater Manchester Institute of Technology, Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance and the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership as well as other skills providers and regional employers.

Anna Dawe, Chair of GMColleges said:  “Businesses need a skilled workforce with the right technical skills to grow and succeed. Across sectors we have a raft of great jobs to fill, especially those emerging to support the development of the green economy and this new fund will allow us to ensure everyone across our region has access to the training they need to grasp these exciting opportunities.”

All nine General Further Education colleges in Greater Manchester are part of Greater Manchester Colleges including Bolton College, Bury College, Hopwood Hall College, Oldham College, Tameside College, The Manchester College, Trafford College Group, Salford City College Group and Wigan and Leigh College.

GMColleges represents the colleges, collectively delivering learning to 70,000 students, supporting them to meet the needs of the employers and the GM workforce, current and future, in key growth and employment sectors with training at all levels and ages from entry to postgraduate.