National Skills Academy expands to new sectors

Posted on 26 Jan 2011 by The Manufacturer

The Government has approved a bid by the National Skills Academy Process Industries to extend its scope to cover two new sectors – biotechnology and composites.

To tackle the significant lack of provision that employers in these sectors lament the Academy will broker short courses and different forms of traning, also granting access to specialists and demonstration facilities. Programmes will be developed in response to employer demand and will be co-produced by employers where possible.

The Academy, a subsidiary of Cogent, the Sector Skills Council for the science-based industries, will continue to be industry led.

Welcoming the announcement of the approval, Phil Jones, Academy CEO, said: “We’ve been very busy since March 2010 when we found out that our preliminary bid had been successful, gaining the support of biotechnology and composites employers, and we’re very energized about delivering programmes for our two new sectors.”

Commenting on the extension of the Academy’s coverage, Skills Minister John Hayes said: “Composites and biotechnology are highly competitive sectors around the world and both are poised for substantial growth. If we want to secure that growth and investment in the UK, it’s vital that we can provide a highly skilled workforce. The Academy will bring government agencies, education providers and employers together, delivering world class training to keep Britain on the cutting edge of technological progress.”

The Academy will cooperate with Semta (Sector Skills Council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies) on areas of common interest in the composites industry to best meet the needs of employers.

Training will be provided through a network of Academy Accredited Training Providers. Over the next three years, this will include around 30 of the highest quality training providers in the UK. A Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology has already been announced: the City and Islington College.

Daniel Norris, deputy director for innovation at the College’s Centre for Applied Sciences, said: “We believe that City and Islington College and the Academy’s extension will help to meet the skills shortages in new emerging technologies which will become increasingly important for Britain’s economic recovery and for our future global competitiveness.”