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Newbury College is pleased to announce the success of their bid, in partnership with seven local colleges, for Local Skills Improvement Fund projects in Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The colleges can now implement their plans to deliver a range of skills development programmes for businesses and communities across Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

The colleges have been given £5m in total, £2.5m for each of the counties, to design, deliver and resource a range of courses to meet the future needs of their counties. The courses are primarily aimed at developing the skills of those already in employment and areas covered will include green construction skills, electric vehicle maintenance, advanced digital skills, and robotics. The programmes are part of the Government’s continued plan for reshaping the technical skills system to better support the needs of the local labour markets, as set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper published in January 2021.

Part of this plan has seen the introduction of Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) developed with Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce in Oxfordshire and Berkshire; these plans have informed the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) bids to the Department for Education (DfE). This follows the successful delivery of Strategic Development Fund 2 (SDF2) projects by the same partnership.

Working within the Local Enterprise Partnership areas of Oxfordshire (OxLEP) and Berkshire (TVBLEP), Newbury College will be delivering these programmes in collaboration with Abingdon & Witney College, Activate Learning and The Henley College, New Directions College, Ruskin College and the Windsor Forest College Group including Berkshire College of Agriculture.

Jo Houghton, Vice Principal - HE & Skills of Newbury College, said: “The LSIF projects provide an excellent opportunity for local companies to take advantage of funded courses such as our Introduction to AI and Machine Learning, to develop their workforce’s understanding and adoption of evolving technologies. The funding also enables us to introduce new programmes to the region, such as the Building Energy Maintenance Systems (BEMS) Apprenticeship, which can be used to upskill current teams or to create new roles that enhance companies' energy efficiency initiatives.

“We look forward to continuing to collaborate closely with Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce’s LSIP and other stakeholders in these developments across our region.”

The project will also see the colleges work together to support the recruitment of new teachers into the sector, with a particular focus on designing solutions to address the difficulty in recruiting vocational specialists, including support for those looking to transition into teaching from industry.

Cathy Wright, Vice Principal for Central Services at Newbury College, said, “Finding a collaborative solution for the recruitment of specialist vocational teachers is exciting and highlights the value of connecting skilled and practising industry experts with education delivery”.

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce has been designated as the employer representative body to implement and review the LSIPs for Oxfordshire and Berkshire. This continues to be done against a set of agreed priorities, placing employers at the heart of their local skills system, creating more direct partnerships between employers and training providers.

The bid partners benefiting from the LSIF project funds

Partner logos for colleges benefiting from the LSIF project funding

For further background information on LSIPs and LISF, here are the links to the DfE announcements released on 10 November:

Skills training to be transformed with innovative projects    - GOV.UK (

Berkshire Local Skills Improvement Plan (

Oxfordshire Local Skills Improvement Plan (

Skills for jobs: lifelong learning for opportunity and growth - GOV.UK (