Mayor Dr Nik Johnson visited City College Peterborough to relaunch the Health and Care Sector Work Academy pilot project.
While at the college on Friday he saw first-hand some of the training available and spoke to staff and those taking part in the courses.
The free courses are for those living in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region and who are in receipt of an in or out of work benefit. Support can also be given to help with childcare and travel costs through a bursary.
The pilot project is one of six nationally being supported by the DWP. It aims to reduce dependence on in-work and out-of-work benefits by recruiting unemployed or low skilled people into the health and care sector and supporting existing employees to progress to higher skilled and better paid roles. It tackles barriers to progressing or opting for a career in health and care. Over the next two years the academy will train over 1,350 people.
Mayor Johnson said: “This investment in skills in health and care will repay itself many times over. Skills shortages directly affect the service that can be provided to people who need it.
“Bringing more skilled people into the sector will fill vacancies, drive up standards and meet more of the demand for health and care support.
“Second, our region contrasts hugely in levels of skills. In Fenland and Peterborough for example, we have some of the lowest levels of skills in the country. This often leads to lower paid, less secure work, putting pressure on communities and people’s health and wellbeing.
“This academy will help train up more people in good, secure jobs, where skills are in high demand, and with potential for career progression. It is another example of the Combined Authority matching a local need for investment in skills, with an employer need to tackle staff shortages.
“It was fantastic to visit City College Peterborough to see these courses in action.”
Pat Carrington, Executive Principal at City College Peterborough, said: “The College is very excited about the renewal of support and funding from the Combined Authority and the DWP to refresh the Health and Care Sector Work Academy.
“We’re proud to be leading on what is a national pilot and we’re determined to deliver on the potential of this academy to help people into great careers and bring much-needed new talent into a sector on which so many rely.
“It was great to welcome the Mayor to relaunch the academy and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Combined Authority.”
For those interested in enrolling to the Health and Care Sector Work Academy, visit https://www.healthandcareacademy.co.uk/