OxLEP has this week announced a new Government-funded pilot project to give young people the skills needed to secure employment opportunities in robotics, power engineering and space science.
This will be carried out by the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Oxfordshire Advanced Skills centre (OAS) – based at Culham Science Centre – who will fit out lab space and create a facility whose ongoing curriculum will be driven by industry experts.
Oxfordshire’s ‘innovation ecosystem’ is world-leading, with robotics, power engineering and space science new and emerging sectors. OAS’s pilot scheme aims to train 240 higher and degree apprentices, upskill 800 people through short courses, as well as 750 through e-learning, all during a four-year period.
OxLEP is one of 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England playing a key role in driving forward economic growth and – by 2021 – it’s expected that central Government will have invested over £12bn into the UK economy via the Local Growth Fund.
The Local Growth Fund investment aims to allow LEPs to use their local knowledge to promote growth in their individual regions.
Analysis has shown that for every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested, £4.81 in benefits could be generated.
OxLEP secured £534,610 of funding for the project via the government’s Local Growth Fund – the overall cost of the pilot project is £2.9m.
Since its inception in 2011, OxLEP – with its partners – has secured over £650m-worth of government funding for Oxfordshire, which has seen more than 50,000 new jobs created in the county to-date.
In total, OxLEP currently oversees a £2.2bn growth programme for the county.
Nigel Tipple – OxLEP Chief Executive – said: “The confirmation of such a significant project – that will have a positive impact on the employment opportunities open to Oxfordshire’s young people – is excellent news.
“As the local enterprise partnership for Oxfordshire – we want to ensure our county benefits from a landscape that is fit-for-purpose, supporting dynamic economic growth.
“We are delighted to have secured such a major Local Growth Fund allocation for this project and we are sure it can be real asset to Oxfordshire, as we continue to support our economy for the benefit of both our own communities and the wider ‘UK PLC’ – vital as we recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
David Martin – Director of Oxfordshire Advanced Skills – said: “This funding will allow Oxfordshire Advanced Skills to start earlier to train hundreds of apprentices to benefit both them and the local economy as it bounces back from the pandemic. Companies working in robotics, power engineering and space science will gain much-needed skills – strengthening Oxfordshire’s position as the UK’s hi-tech capital.”