Mayor Dr Nik Johnson visited City College Peterborough to relaunch a pilot project aiming to give more than 1,350 people skills to start or advance careers in the health and care sector.
The Health and Care Sector Work Academy (HCSWA) is a pilot project developed by City College Peterborough and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, in partnership with the Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The Mayor visited the college on Friday (October 15) to see first-hand some of the training and speak to staff and those taking part in the courses. The free courses are for those living in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region.
The pilot project is one of six nationally being supported by the DWP. It aims to reduce dependence on in-work and out-of-work benefits by recruiting unemployed or low skilled people into the health and care sector and supporting existing employees to progress to higher skilled and better paid roles. It tackles barriers to progressing or opting for a career in health and care. Over the next two years the academy will train over 1,350 people.
Employers will benefit from the Academy through:
· Recruitment of staff into entry-level positions
· Reduction in hard to fill vacancies and skill shortages
· Reduction in labour turnover
· Changes in approach to workforce development/progression
The Combined Authority has also supported the academy through £147,000 of Local Growth Funds and Innovation Funding from its Adult Education Budget to create specialist teaching facilities. The funding has supported the development of an innovative health and care skills lab and study area using state of the art technology.
The project first began delivering courses in March 2018. The Covid-19 pandemic impacted progress, but the DWP has agreed an extension to the project to March 2023.
Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said:
“This investment in skills in health and care will repay itself many times over. Skills shortages directly affect the service that can be provided to people who need it. Bringing more skilled people into the sector will fill vacancies, drive up standards and meet more of the demand for health and care support.
“Second, our region contrasts hugely in levels of skills. In Fenland and Peterborough for example, we have some of the lowest levels of skills in the country. This often leads to lower paid, less secure work, putting pressure on communities and people’s health and wellbeing.
“This academy will help train up more people in good, secure jobs, where skills are in high demand, and with potential for career progression. It is another example of the Combined Authority matching a local need for investment in skills, with an employer need to tackle staff shortages.
“It was fantastic to visit City College Peterborough to see these courses in action.”
Pat Carrington, executive principal at City College Peterborough, said: “The College is very excited about the renewal of support and funding from the Combined Authority and the DWP to refresh the Health and Care Sector Work Academy.
“We’re proud to be leading on what is a national pilot and we’re determined to deliver on the potential of this academy to help people into great careers and bring much-needed new talent into a sector on which so many rely.
“It was great to welcome the Mayor to relaunch the academy and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Combined Authority.”