Office for Students to support upskilling and retraining workforce

Office for Students launches the Higher Education Short Course Trial Challenge Competition to fund up to 20 successful bits from higher education providers to trial short courses aimed at boosting skills and getting more people into work.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “Learning is a lifelong journey, and this competition is a critical step in creating courses which meet the needs of learners, employers and our wider economy.”

 This competition is under the umbrella of the Government’s Lifelong Learning Entitlement which encourages adult learners to study more flexibly through short courses, allowing them to upskill, retrain and work towards a full qualification as both their circumstances and the economy change. This is a major shake-up of the more traditional higher education and definitely a more than necessary support under the current post-pandemic challenges faced by employers and employees.

Universities and further education colleges have been invited to bid for a share of £2 million to create new short courses across five important subject areas: STEM, healthcare, digital innovation, education and supporting Net Zero.

Providers will be expected to develop courses under these topics which could be as short as six weeks – or as long as a year if studied part-time – and which will deliver learners with a certificate they can use to build towards future training and employment. The first short courses will be available from September 2022.

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