Thousands of students will benefit from better job prospects thanks to £13.1 million of additional funding for colleges aimed at improving skills and ensuring courses match employers’ need.
Colleges throughout Scotland have been awarded funding as part of the innovative programme, managed by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), that will deliver the Scottish Government’s commitment to protect student places. It will support at least 5,800 places, with funding targeted at college regions where student demand most significantly exceeds current provision.
Around three-quarters of the new places are for 16 to 19-year-olds and are focussed on helping prepare students for the workplace with all courses featuring work experience placements.
SDS invited bids from colleges jointly and individually that were focused on local, regional and national demand and the long-term employability of students.
Education Secretary Michael Russell said:
“SDS is investing in Scotland’s colleges as they restructure themselves on a regional basis and better align their courses and training to meet local demand and regional economic need.”
“This new investment, which is on top of the £530 million we are already providing colleges, will both meet our commitment to protect college places and give young people the opportunities which will better meet their aspirations and employers’ needs.”
“Quite rightly this programme has placed a very clear focus on securing successful outcomes and achievements. I am delighted that our colleges have seized this opportunity to meet learner demand and employer need.”
The new provision contributes to the Government’s ongoing post-16 education reform, including college courses that better support young people into work. Of the places to be provided, 74 per cent are for 16-19 year olds, 20 per cent for 20-24 year olds and six per cent for 25 years plus.
Of the 43 bids received, four were from consortiums with South Lanarkshire; Cumbernauld and Motherwell; Fife Colleges and Enable and Elmwood submitting joint bids.
John McClelland, Chair of the Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland said:
“This new funding model was designed to target the outstanding expertise of Scotland’s colleges in learner and employer needs. We have received innovative and impressive individual and joint bids from colleges throughout Scotland, creating outcome-focused training that will benefit learners and the wider economy.”
John Burt, Principal of Angus College, welcomed today’s announcement and backed the programme.
He said: “At a local level Angus College is delighted to receive confirmation of its bid for student places on the new college learning programme.
“This is a vital piece of the jigsaw for academic year 2012/13 and enables us to provide learning and work place opportunities for young people in key sectors such as engineering, health care and hospitality.
“I am delighted to say that in our area of Scotland we are now able to offer the same level of student places as in previous years.”