West London College has finalised an agreement with the region’s top employers to form a new skills development hub to help the future growth of west London’s economy.
The hub will be designed to provide a forum for businesses and educators to discuss what skills local students need to meet the future requirements of West London employers.
Some of West London’s top employers including Heathrow Airport, Berkeley Group, Thames Tideway and Chelsea Football Club have joined the hub, along with key education institutions in the area.
The new arrangements will ensure regular planning meetings take place to discuss the area’s employment opportunities. This will include looking at what changes to skills courses might be needed to ensure students are immediately employable when they leave further education.
Hub members have also laid plans for the creation of a central contact number where employers can call to discover which of the local training institutions could best fulfil their staff and apprenticeship training needs.
The hub has already received the backing of the Department for Education, which has granted £50,000 to back the venture and ensure its continued success.
By working with companies through the hub, WLC aims to make sure students have excellent opportunities by aligning their courses with any existing or future skills gaps.
WLC CEO Garry Phillips said: “Our aims are to be employer responsive, student led and locally focused. We want to deliver the business and technical acumen our students need to be ready for the world of work or go on to higher education.”
The hub is already working. It was through it that WLC recently discovered there is a shortage of construction plant operatives within London. As a result, they are now in discussion with JCB and other major companies about the possibility of opening a digger school to fulfil this need.
Garry continues: “As London’s leading career college, the hub gives us the opportunity to work with companies that together employ over 100,000 people to offer them the specialisms they need.
“It’s exciting to lead this transformation – we’re forging real and lasting connections between students and the employers of the future and ensuring west London’s vibrant economy for years to come.”