News | 11.Jan.2024

South Yorkshire Colleges Sign Collaboration Deal with Sheffield Hallam University for Higher Skills Delivery Following Securing £1.3 million in Funding.

Colleges across South Yorkshire have signed a collaborative agreement with Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) that will see them work even more closely to address regional skills challenges, including on the provision of new Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs).

To support this collaboration and the delivery of HTQs, which have already started to be rolled out across the Colleges in the Group, the region has recently been successful in securing £1.3 million from the Government’s Higher Technical Education Skills Injection Fund.

The agreement is between the region’s Further Education colleges in South Yorkshire including Barnsley College, DN Colleges Group, RNN Group, The Sheffield College and Sheffield Hallam University.

The collaborative agreement sees Sheffield Hallam become the preferred awarding partner for the delivery of HTQs with regional colleges – bringing a consistency of approach across the region, clear pathways for learners, and economies of scale for future bids and projects to support HTQs.

The South Yorkshire Colleges Partnership (SYCP), which all of the collaborating Colleges are involved with, plays a vital role in achieving our region’s inclusive growth aspirations. This collaboration yields an amazing cluster effect and coordinated behaviour that balances inclusivity and productivity, collectively partnering with 7,500 employers of all sizes and sectors to deliver education and training to more than 66,000 learners.

Innovation and skills development are central to the success story of our vibrant region - and behind that achievement are some of our country’s most highly-regarded colleges and centres and through our collective expertise and ambition. The collaboration supports an alignment with the Local Skills Improvement Partnership (LSIP), Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF), as well as supporting recently announced new Institute of Technology with multiple sites across the region.

Working together on the provision of Higher Technical Qualifications at Level 4 and Level 5 will not only support the regional pipeline of learners undertaking T-Levels and other Level 3 courses into Level 4 and 5 courses and beyond, connecting to developments in the Lifelong Loan Entitlement, but also maximise the potential to raise the profile of Higher Technical Qualifications on a regional basis, pooling efforts to improve understanding across our communities.

Our employer partners will be secure in the knowledge that there is a regional supply of courses to demand from learners and employers and we will be able to jointly co-ordinate our relationships with employers to bring mutual benefits and avoid unnecessary duplication.

The Colleges within the SYCP are united in boosting the skills of the region’s current and future workforce, driving the growth that is vital to our economy and enhancing opportunities for all across our region.

Jason Austin, Chair of the South Yorkshire Colleges Partnership, said, “I am delighted that this agreement has come into fruition, to support the development of HTQs across the region creating a consistency of approach as well as clear pathways for learners.

“The South Yorkshire Colleges work hard to develop skills across the region supporting employers, continued economic regeneration and the future economy of South Yorkshire, so this partnership will truly work in tandem with this mission.

“This collaboration will allow us to speak with ‘one voice’ regionally and nationally in supporting the development of Higher Technical Qualifications and the wider higher-level skills agenda.”

Professor Chris Wigginton, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global and Academic Partnerships) at Sheffield Hallam, said: “The strength, development and connectivity of the education and skills system in South Yorkshire are values that the whole partnership is both passionate, about and fully committed to. This collaboration is about creating and supporting opportunities for people in the region – both young and old – and it will be exciting to work with colleagues across South Yorkshire to see it realised.”

HTQs are new or existing level 4 and 5 qualifications such as higher national certificates, higher national diplomas and foundation degrees. They sit between A levels or T Levels and Degrees, and serve continuing students over 18, as well as adults looking to retrain or upskill. The first digital HTQs were launched in September 2022, with health, science and construction courses set to be available from 2023, and a full roll-out of 15 occupational sectors by 2025.

The collaborative agreement is further evidence of the strong collaboration between Higher and Further Education providers within South Yorkshire, with work also underway to launch a South Yorkshire Institute of Technology (IoT) following a £12million investment from government. The IoT will work with employers to provide specialist provision for over 1,500 learners, aiming to meet regional skills demands head on.