Re-skilling project

Skilled individuals who have been affected by the economic downturn are being offered support by Cranfield University as part of a £480,000 re-skilling initiative.

The funding, awarded by the Economic Challenge Investment Fund (ECIF) and announced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), has been designed to help the university support individuals who are facing redundancy, alongside businesses requiring additional training.

The university plans to use its experience with its Queen’s Award-winning Fellowship in Manufacturing Management (FMM) programmes and its water-sector expertise to retrain individuals who have become redundant in one sector to become employable in those that have continuing shortages.

As one of 70 universities to gain a share of the £27m made available by the ECIF, Cranfield will be targeting shortages in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based sectors.

Prof Sir John O’Reilly said: ‘We are pleased to have received the £480,000 funding, which will enable us to address simultaneously both the re-skilling needs of individuals and of business via bespoke offerings, encouraging businesses to keep up with current trends throughout the recession.’

Sir Alan Langlands, the HEFCE’s chief executive, added: ‘This shows that higher education can respond swiftly to the needs of the local communities it serves. We set universities and colleges a tough task, giving them just four weeks to develop and submit their proposals, but they responded with enthusiasm and imagination.

‘Bids came in from all types of higher-education institution, bringing together the efforts of teaching, research and business staff across many departments in a response to evident local needs. New opportunities and courses will be on offer almost immediately, building up to a very full and busy programme over the summer and into next year,’ he added.