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More Institute of Technology centres planned to tackle skills gap

A second wave of centres offering higher technical education nationwide has been announced

The government has announced more Institute of Technology centres countrywide as part of a series of measures aimed at building the skilled workforce the UK needs and at improving productivity.

Supported by a £120m funding package, the plan is to “enable every region in England to establish a high-quality Institute of Technology”. Some 12 institutes are being established, and a second competition will be launched to build up to eight more institutes in areas of the country that don’t have access to one.

The institutes are collaborations between further education colleges, universities, and employers including Nissan and Microsoft.

The centres offer higher technical education and training mainly at Levels 4 and 5, above A and T-level but below degree level, in sectors such as digital, construction, advanced manufacturing and engineering.

In addition, a Skills and Productivity Board will be established to provide the government with expert advice on ensuring the courses and qualifications on offer are of high quality and match the skills employers need.

A report based on a survey of 250 companies, Delivering skills for the new economy, undertaken by the Confederation of British Industry and IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services, suggests that just over two-thirds of UK employers have unfilled vacancies for digital jobs, and just under a third are confident of being able to hire the skills they need over the next three to five years.

Moreover, three out of five large firms believe their digital skills requirements will skyrocket over the same timeframe.

In August, prime minister Boris Johnson urged government departments to work on a new fast-tracked visa for those skilled in sciences, and may scrap other visa caps to attract top talent.

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