By Maximilian Clarke

Businesses will be able to partner with further education establishments in order to develop courses that directly suit the needs of business in a bid to address the skills shortage that threatens to prolong the UK recovery.

Measures outlined in today (Thursday) by Skills Minister John Hayes under the New Challenges, New Chances initiative will give employers the power to support the design and delivery of new courses, helping create greater confidence in qualifications and equip learners with the skills they need.

“These measures will place students at the heart of the FE system, free colleges to meet local skills needs and give the sector the financial certainty it has so long desired,” said Hayes.

“By giving students the power to make informed choices over which course is best for them and ensuring funds are prioritised, towards those most in need, we will build the skilled workforce businesses need to thrive and communities need to prosper.“

Today’s consultation response summarises a comprehensive vocational education and training programme including Government funding to support thousands of Higher Apprenticeships, enabling employers, colleges and universities to deliver the advanced skills most critical for growth.

“Further education plays a critical role in extending opportunity, forging social cohesion and fostering enterprise. But we need to place more trust in the sector’s ability to understand and meet local communities skills needs,” added Business Secretary, Vince Cable.

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