Short courses to help employees build STEM skills will start to be rolled out later this month, the government has announced.
Sixty-five courses in topics including artificial intelligence, digitisation of manufacturing, digital construction, agricultural robotics and cyber security will be delivered across 10 Institutes of Technology (IoT) across England.
They will involve a blend of classroom-based and online study and will vary in length from 50 to 138 hours, allowing employees to fit learning in around their work and other commitments.
Priority places will be given to workers employed locally to the IoT, as the IoTs have worked in partnership with local employers to develop courses that address their skills gaps.
For example, the Black Country and Marches IoT will be offering courses for the medical technology and engineering sectors, including a course on anaesthetic and operating theatre equipment.
The courses will be available to 4,000 working adults aged 19 and over.
“Making sure more people can train and develop at any stage of their life to secure high skilled, high paid jobs is at the heart of our plans,” said further and higher education minister Michelle Donelan.
“These fantastic new courses will open up more training alternatives for adults, address skills gaps in our economy and level up opportunities across the country.”
From September 2022 the government will start introducing new Higher Technical Qualifications, which sit between A-Levels and degrees and are aimed at adults looking to upskill or retrain in STEM subjects. The first course to be introduced will be digital, followed by construction and health in 2023.
The Bedford College Group is training and upskilling its staff in order to deliver the Higher Technical Qualifications.
“We have undertaken workforce planning exercises to model staffing skills gaps we may face in the future. Where gaps exist, we are investing in staff to upskill and retrain to ensure our staff have the most up to date industry and academic knowledge to deliver the Higher Technical Qualifications,” said Georgina Ager, the college’s vice principal.
“In addition, we are ensuring that our facilities are in line with industry standards in order to ensure our learners and our employer partners can access and train on equipment relevant to the current industry standards.”
Last year the first T-Levels were launched, offering students a mixture of classroom-based and on-the-job learning in subjects such as digital business services, science, healthcare science and building services engineering for construction.