Author: Jayne Worthington, The Progress Group CEO
As we move forward into Spring with hopes of COVID-19 restrictions easing, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak has outlined the Government’s plans to rebuild the economy. He announced the extension of several support schemes including the Furlough scheme. The budget signals the Government’s commitment to placing the UK at center stage for development in the coming years.
Through the investment-led recovery plans, we will see the development of clean energy infrastructure, the creation of eight Freeports across England, and additional funding to 45 towns across England. But with a surge in demand for skilled workers on the horizon, how can we support the Government’s plan, ensuring they are met with a readied and skilled workforce.
As part of the ‘levelling-up’ agenda, which was first announced in December 2020, The UK Infrastructure Bank which is due to come into operation in Spring, aims to support at least £40bn of both private and public sector infrastructure projects. The bank will be a key driving force in delivering on the ‘Green Building Revolution’, with its primary focus on the economic infrastructure sectors, such as clean energy. The large investment will support in the development of wind farms, creating thousands of jobs and attracting a skilled and robust renewables workforce to UK shores. Although the investment gives a beacon of hope for many in the sector, it is essential that moving forwards the Government sets out further measures to mobilise significant levels of private capital into projects that both create jobs and support the Green Revolution ambitions.
The announcement also outlined the creation of eight Freeport sites across England, with one located here in the Liverpool City Region. With future opportunities in offshore wind, tidal power, and hydrogen, the Freeport will bring the City Region to the forefront of the Government’s Net Zero ambitions. The success of such projects relies on renewables training providers, such as Complete Training Solutions (CTS), to ready the future workforce. As one of the largest training providers in the UK to offer the GWO Basic Safety Training Package, CTS will prove an integral part of the Government’s efforts.
Annually, CTS deliver 14,500 GWO training courses, equipping delegates with the skills and knowledge to kick start their careers in the renewables sector. Their capacity to deliver large volumes of training, along with the high-quality courses on offer, in my opinion will make them a clear driving force in training and readying the future renewables workforce.
The Chancellor also announced additional funding into 45 towns across England, supporting their long-term economic and social regeneration, as well as their immediate recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. On the list of towns to receive support was Southport, where Innovative Alliance (IA) currently operate, delivering a number of fully funded courses that help adults get back to work. IA recently worked in partnership with DWP in Southport to deliver the Job Accelerated Club Project, where 60% of learners secured positive outcomes. The additional funding will go a long way in helping IA continue to support people in Southport, who have found themselves in unemployment.
As CEO of a group of training and education providers, covering the construction, renewables, education, and adult learning sectors. I am pleased with the support outlined by the Government and believe our group of specialist training providers will play a vital role in the economic recovery plans. The plans signal the first steps for rebuilding, but we must ensure we do not take our foot of the gas now. Ensuring the job market is met with a skilled and readied workforce must remain a top priority as we move into a post-COVID-19 era.