The Enterprise M3 LEP is committed to working with businesses and further education providers to support the area’s workforce to acquire the necessary skills for its high value economy.
It has already invested and is continuing to invest up to £32m in FE Colleges and skills, including ten STEM and digital centres.
Alongside business, the LEP is also developing a virtual college to help train and support the workforce to respond to future skills demands in the emerging AI and Clean Growth industries which will deliver prosperity in the region.
The Innovation South Virtual Campus (ISVC) concept brings together universities, further education colleges and businesses to deliver training in an innovative accessible way. The ISVC aims to meet the need for specialist digital skills identified in the Government-sponsored Innovation South Science & Innovation Audit (SIA).
The ISVC will focus on ‘digital enabling technologies’ - the technical skills to support the businesses in the area and UK. It will be based on an online platform that is specifically designed to meet the learning development needs of people to help them to help them adapt to changes in the nature of their jobs. The innovative ‘pick n mix’ of courses from bite size to full qualifications offered by different educational institutes provides a unique offer for both individuals and businesses. This allows people to become skilled quickly, and while they remain in their jobs, in technical areas needed for their particular roles or help them move to careers in the digital sector.
The Innovation South Virtual Campus Steering Group, which includes Enterprise M3, Brooklands College, Royal Holloway University, University of Chichester, Sparsholt & Andover College, Basingstoke College of Technology and East Surrey College, working with businesses, are looking for opportunities to further develop the ISVC. The Steering Group are awaiting the outcome of bids submitted to Ufi Charitable Trust for their VocTech Impact 2018 fund and Enterprise M3 to help start to develop the ISVC.
Enterprise M3 Director Kathy Slack said: “We are committed to working with employers to create innovative models for delivering technical, higher level skills in line with future business needs, and in partnership with universities, colleges, and training providers. The Innovation South Virtual Campus is a great example of this and we will continue to work alongside our partners in supporting the ISVC and in developing new models of skills training to support our local economy.”