Professor Catherine Harper has welcomed the chance for the University of Chichester to try to address the shortfall in skilled health and social care workers with the help of an award of £200,000.
The university has been awarded the money by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to lead a collaborative project to tackle the issue.
Up to 1.6million workers will be needed by 2022 to replace those leaving this sector, according to the Institute of Public Policy Research. The one-year project is a collaboration between further and higher education providers, private businesses, local authorities and public organisations to upskill the health and social care workforce across the south coast.
Professor Catherine Harper, deputy vice-chancellor of the university
An additional £205,000 has been raised by the university and its partners to supplement the HEFCE investment to address the needs in Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight. Professor Harper, deputy vice-chancellor of the university, said: “Opportunities for health and social care development and progression are vital to ensure the sector recruits appropriately-skilled and qualified workers in the numbers needed by regional employers for the future.
“The University of Chichester will lead the collaborative project, partnering with the Sussex Learning Network and others, to deliver a bridging course between further and higher education. The programme is designed to be sustainable beyond the funding period of January 2019 to continue to address the health and social care needs of the region.”
More than 30 universities and colleges in England were awarded a share of £6.1million from HEFCE to develop new and enhanced higher education courses. Each bidder was funded up to a maximum of £200,000 from the HEFCE catalyst fund programme with additional investment provided by the universities and colleges alongside national employers.
The investment by HEFCE is intended to upskill those who will contribute to future UK economic growth by providing employees with expertise in technology-related sectors, including advanced engineering, artificial intelligence, bioscience, and health and social care.
Professor Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of HEFCE, said: “We were delighted with the quality of proposals received for this funding call and particularly the impressive levels of engagement between higher education and industry. The funding will provide new courses and vital skill developments in key industrial sectors across the country from which students, the workforce, and employers all stand to benefit.”