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A government funding boost will help Weymouth College to deliver high-quality training and kickstart careers in green construction in the Dorset area.

Weymouth was among colleges, universities and other training providers across the UK selected to receive a share of £200million in the latest round of the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) and Skills Injection Fund.

The funding will help transform skills training so that local businesses can continue to tap into the workforce they need to thrive, while helping more people to secure good jobs closer to home.

The innovative projects will support people to gain the skills needed to launch careers in the green sector and support the local economy to grow.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “This investment is about boosting local industries, building people’s skills and ultimately futureproofing our economy and the career prospects of the next generation.

“Our local skills projects will bring together regional organisations, businesses and education providers to respond to the specific needs of employers, building an increasingly skilled workforce and growing local economies.

“Whether it is green skills, construction, engineering or digital, thousands more people can now gain the skills they need to secure good jobs closer to home. These are long-term plans that will ensure every area can have a brighter future.”

Committing to a green future for Dorset

Weymouth College will be using its share of the funding to deliver green skills courses in electric vehicle charging systems and the installation of solar panels and heat pumps.

Aimed at upskilling those with existing electrical or plumbing qualifications, these courses will help to create a trained workforce for a greener, more sustainable future for Dorset, tying in with the College’s own Sustainability Policy.

The announcement of the LSIF funding comes as Weymouth College celebrates its annual Environment Week, offering students and staff a packed programme of expert talks covering all aspects of the environment and climate change.

It also follows hot on the heels of Weymouth College’s commendation in the Association of College’s prestigious Beacon Awards, in the category of Education for Sustainable Development.

Domestic, Commercial and Industrial Electric Vehicle Charging Installation

The government’s commitment to allocate £1.6 billion to further expand the UK’s charging network – with around 300,000 public chargers expected to be available by 2030 – means the industry needs competent installers.

The City & Guilds 2921-31 course has been designed to standardise practices for manufacturers, suppliers and installers; it reflects the future requirements of this exciting new industry by helping to reduce the risk of unsafe and inefficient practices.

Installation and Maintenance of Small Scale Solar Photovoltaic Systems

The solar power market is growing fast and if you are an electrician or domestic installer who would like to expand your skill set to include the installation of Solar Photovoltaic panel systems, then this course could be right for you.

This three-day Level 3 course will cover the requirements to install, commission, and hand over small-scale solar photovoltaic systems. Unlike many other photovoltaic courses, this includes the practical installation of Solar Panels to a roof.

The Installation and Maintenance of Heat Pump Systems (Non-Refrigeration Circuits)

For those using oil, electricity, liquid gas or solid fuels to heat their home, the installation of a heat pump may be a good way of reducing their carbon footprint and saving money on energy bills. It is these financial and environmental benefits which have fuelled a surge in popularity for domestic heat pump installation – particularly over the last decade – and a subsequent demand for qualified installation and maintenance operatives.

This Level 3 short course is fully recognised by many accreditation bodies of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.

All three courses are full-funded. You can find more information and details on how to apply to all of the above courses here.

Meeting the needs of local employers

The funding has been awarded specifically to priority sectors identified by local employers in their Local Skills Improvement Plans, as part of a government drive to get more people into good jobs closer to home, plug skills gaps and grow the economy.

Across the South West region, employers identified skills including digital, construction and engineering as priorities.

The British Chambers of Commerce and other employer representative organisations were commissioned to lead work to publish Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs), published in the summer, so the training on offer better meets the current and future skills needs of local areas.

Jane Gratton, Deputy Director of Public Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses are crying out for more people with technical skills to fill the great jobs we have today and new ones in the developing green economy.

“It’s vital that everyone can access the training they need locally to grasp these opportunities.

“Business-led LSIPs are setting out the skills needs and opportunities, and this new funding will ensure the right training solutions are put in place.”

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