Education providers partner to help businesses build back better across the Midlands

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A partnership between four of the Midlands’ major education providers will make it easier for businesses to access the support they need to develop a skilled workforce and build back better from the pandemic.

WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group), Coventry College, Coventry University and Solihull College & University Centre/Stratford-upon-Avon College are the partner organisations behind Collaborate to Train Coventry and Warwickshire.

The ‘Collaborate to Train’ project is supported by the European Social Fund and aims to improve the ways in which education providers, local authorities and other stakeholders work together with businesses to provide high-quality and effective education and training services in a more collaborative way.

Coventry City Council is also a partner in the scheme and alongside the four education providers is engaging with businesses to ensure that delivery is responsive to regional economic leads.

Collaborate to Train is now entering its second phase and the first phase engaged with more than 400 local businesses.

The consortium works together to help SMEs access the right training needed to support the future of their businesses, this includes accessing apprenticeships, work experience placements, supported internships and advising on effective school engagement.

If a business approaches one of the members of the partnership, but another partner organisation would be better placed to support, the business will then be put directly in touch with the other college or university – helping the business to easily access the best tailored educational provisional in the region.

The partnership looks to encourage more businesses to take advantage of skills training provision and engage with businesses that wouldn’t usually consider utilising local education to develop their workforce.

James Lewit, Head of Projects at WCG, said: “The message from Government is that education and business need to work closer together in order to overcome the current skills crisis.

“The Collaborate to Train project goal is to improve those links between business and education and break down barriers which may lead to some SMEs being discouraged to take advantage of the provision available.

“The partnership saw great success in the first phase and now has the foundations to press on and play a key role in the development of skilled individuals across Coventry and Warwickshire.”

Emma Ingram, Head Employer Engagement and Sales at Coventry College, added: “Coventry College is very pleased to be working in partnership with partners WCG, Stratford College & Coventry University on the second phase of the successful ESF Collaborate to Train project.

“The project is pivotal to ensuring SMEs in Coventry and Warwickshire are fully engaged with their local education providers, and to access information and guidance on the most appropriate training to suit their needs including apprenticeships, internships and accessing quality work experience placements.”

Alex Dickson, Head of Delivery – Employment and Skills at Coventry City Council, added: “Coventry City Council are pleased to be a partner of the second phase of the ESF funded project Collaborate to Train, which is being delivered through a consortium of major stakeholders in education, training and business engagement across Coventry and Warwickshire.

“As a partner of the first phase of Collaborate to Train the increased benefits of the project were evident, with a range of local SME’s increasing their involvement with education and employment services. Offering work experience placements, apprenticeships and a range of school engagement activities helping pupils make informed choices about their chosen career path.

“For businesses the project allowed them to inspire the next generation of employees, giving them a true insight into the world of work.”

For more information about Collaborate to Train visit www.wcg.ac.uk/collaboratetotrain or email collaboratetotrain@wcg.ac.uk

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