A collaborative approach from education providers was developed following a Business South panel session that was attended by a range of employers from multiple sectors. 

By working with Business South and Workforce Business South, Eastleigh College, Fareham College, Havant and South Downs College and Solent University will better serve employers across the region, and ensure seamless access to and involvement in career-focused education and skills development.

This unique collaborative approach comes following the Skills for Jobs White Paper published earlier this year, which outlines the government’s aims to strengthen links between employers, further education providers and universities. 

The White Paper pledges to place employers at the heart of defining local skills needs and explore a new role for Chambers of Commerce and other business representative organisations working with local colleges and employers.

Eastleigh College Chief Executive and Principal, Paul Cox, said: “We welcomed the White Paper which set out greater commitment to FE colleges and the invaluable role our learners will play in the future economy. As a leading FE provider we’ve always strived to work closely with organisations to ensure the courses we run meet the needs of employers both in terms of knowledge and skills. 

“By working collaboratively with other education providers and commercial networks, we’re able to take this even further. We’re delighted to take this first step by working together with Business South, Fareham College, Havant and South Downs College and Solent University and launch a collaborative document which outlines the key opportunities and benefits. 

“As a result, employers will access clear, up-to-date and unbiased information on where and how to be part of this employer centred approach to training and education, as well as understand how to access funding and financial incentives.”

Professor Karen Stanton, Vice Chancellor of Solent University added: “Different funding streams and changing legislation has resulted in many employers missing out on free or cost-efficient opportunities to train existing staff or influence future talent. Small employers and large businesses with HR teams alike can sometimes be left baffled. By working together, we’ll be able to help employers see the wood for the trees, have their say in the development of tomorrow’s workforce and truly benefit from the education, training and apprenticeship opportunities that are available.”