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Gloucestershire Business News

Funding boost for colleges

South Gloucestershire & Stroud (SGS) College has won £2.5m funding for the county through the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF).

This is as a direct response to the comprehensive regional Local Skills Improvement Plans led by Business West over the past few years.

SGS College leads on the countywide project on behalf of the four further education Colleges in Gloucestershire - SGS, Cirencester, Hartpury and Gloucestershire College.

The funding will advance various initiatives aimed at enhancing SGS's ability to address priority areas within the region. Key activities include:

• Digital infrastructure upgrade: SGS College is set to bolster its digital infrastructure, ensuring learners to have access to the latest industry-standard technology.

• Modular classrooms installation: The LSIF funding will support the installation of modular classrooms at SGS Stroud, expanding provision for apprenticeships and accommodating the growing number of learners.

• Staff development investment: SGS College is committed to investing in its staff development, ensuring educators enhance their skills and knowledge to deliver a top-tier educational experience.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) expertise: Upskilling all staff and learners in how to work positively with AI, and what it can mean for the future of industry.

The LSIF signifies a significant leap for SGS College, enabling the institution to embark on work that directly impacts the skills development of current and future learners, ensuring employer needs are met.

Sara-Jane Watkins, SGS principal, said: "At South Gloucestershire & Stroud College, we are delighted to be leading on the Local Skills Improvement Fund for Gloucestershire. This has leveraged £2.5m for the four Gloucestershire further education colleges.

"The investment supports the expansion and upgrading of resources for construction, digital and agri-tech, which is needed to accommodate the growth in learner numbers achieved at all four colleges.

"The fund is also allowing the sector to heavily invest in digital infrastructure across all campuses, enabling countywide learners to work with the latest industry-standard technology."

Matt Tudge, head of skills planning for Business West, said: "We have collaborated closely with SGS College and other educational institutions throughout Gloucestershire as part of the LSIF application. We are impressed to see the region's LSIF aligns so effectively with businesses' needs, as outlined in the LSIP.

"Our commitment extends beyond this, and we have ongoing plans to collaborate with Gloucestershire's training providers over the next two years. Through this sustained effort, we aim to ensure a continued alignment with the evolving needs of businesses and learners in our region."

The college is also working with the West of England Institute of Technology on a separate LSIF project for its Bristol-based campuses.

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