East Durham College announced as lead applicant in the delivery and development of Local Skills Improvement Fund

Building on the success of the government’s Strategic Development Fund (SDF), which East Durham College led on and successfully delivered a £2.7 million project within a challenging 8-month window, which was designed to help further education providers respond to skills training needs in the healthcare and health science sectors.

East Durham College is delighted to announce themselves as the lead applicant in the delivery and development of the North East’s Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) worth £3.7m to be invested in meeting the regions skills needs.

The multi-million-pound fund will be used to develop post-16 technical training by upskilling teaching and college leadership and management staff, develop new training programmes and courses, improve college facilities and provide state-of-the-art training equipment.

The investment will be targeted to deliver the region’s Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) which was recently produced to detail how skills provision should be developed and changed to meet the specific labour market needs of employers and key sectors in the region.

Back in September 2022, the list of leading employer groups who were successful in bidding to produce the local skills plans across the country was announced. In the North East LSIP area that was the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) Limited. As a result of NEAA work and plan the priority sectors in the North East were identified as health sciences, construction, digital and engineering and advanced manufacturing.

Suzanne Duncan, Principal at East Durham College, which has campus sites in Peterlee and Durham said: “We are delighted and honoured to have been selected as the lead FE college in the region to delivery of the North East LSIF.

“We will play a key role in ensuring the college sector adapts to provide students, particularly at Level 3 to Level 5, with latest training techniques required by employers, training with resources they will encounter in the workplace and so meeting the local labour market skills needs in the key industry sectors identified.

“We look forward to working with our colleagues in the FE sector to make a huge impact on the region’s economy through the successful delivery of the fund and skills improvement plan.”

The introduction of LSIPs and the Local Skills Improvement Fund are a key part of the Government’s 10-year vision for skills set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper.

Minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education Robert Halfon added: “Building a world-class skills and apprenticeships nation means listening to the specific needs of local people, businesses, and institutions.

“This funding will revolutionise how we plug local skills gaps and provide a boost to the economy.

“Supporting colleges to better meet the needs of local employers not only boosts businesses, it extends the ladder of opportunity to even more people from all backgrounds who will be equipped with the skills they need to secure a rewarding job close to home.”

The other education members of the North East LSIF group are Bishop Auckland College, Derwentside College, EPNE (Sunderland College)Gateshead College, New College Durham, Tyne Coast College, University of Sunderland and Learning Curve Group.

The LSIF is available over the next two financial years and worth £165m across the country.