Thousands of working adults will be offered free courses to rapidly upskill in STEM sectors including engineering, digital and construction.
65 short and modular courses will start to roll out from later this month at 10 Institutes of Technology (IoTs) across England in sought-after STEM subjects. This will include courses such as Digitisation of Manufacturing and Digital Construction.
The courses will be a blend of classroom and remote online study, and will vary in length from 50 to 138 hours – giving more adults greater flexibility in how and when they learn, so they can fit it around their lives.
The government’s network of Institutes of Technology – collaborations between leading employers, further education colleges and universities – specialise in delivering high-quality Higher Technical Education and training in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering, providing employers with the skilled workforce they need.
A total of £6.4 million is being invested to support IoTs to offer the free courses, which will support up to 4,000 working adults to get on the path to a new, rewarding career and will plug local skills shortages.
Boosting the uptake and quality of Higher Technical Qualifications – that sit between A levels and degrees – and supporting adults to study more flexibly throughout their lives is a key part of the government’s landmark reforms to post-16 education and training.
A major review of higher technical education revealed these qualifications can unlock the skills employers need and lead to well paid jobs. However, it also shows that the quality of qualifications on offer at further and higher education providers can be variable and it can be hard for students and employers to find the ones that are right for them.
From September 2022, the government will start rolling out newly approved Higher Technical Qualifications, beginning with Digital, and followed by Construction and Health in 2023. A full suite of qualifications will be available by 2025.
Higher Technical Qualifications will provide a natural progression route for both young people taking T Levels or A levels, and adults looking to upskill or retrain – enabling them to take the next step up and gain higher technical skills in key subjects like STEM.