Local Skills Improvement Partnership

Local Skills Improvement Fund continues FE collaboration across Berkshire & Oxfordshire, delivering future skills for businesses


New Directions College is pleased to announce the success of their bid, in partnership with six local colleges, for Local Skills Improvement Funds that will support a range of programmes in response to the Local Skills Improvement Plans that were published in August 2023.  A total of £5m; £2.5m for each county, will be used to design, resource, and deliver a range of activity to meet the future skills needs of key developing sectors across both counties.


This work is part of the Government’s continued plan for reshaping the post 16 technical skills system to better support the needs of the local labour market, as set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper published in January 2021.  Part of this plan has seen the introduction of Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) which were led by the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce in Berkshire and Oxfordshire.  The LSIPs have informed the bids to the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF), offered, and managed through the Department for Education (DfE).


In Berkshire, New Directions College will be delivering these programmes in collaboration with Activate Learning, Newbury College, and the Windsor Forest College Group.


Andrea Wood, Principal of New Directions College said: “The LSIF projects provide an excellent opportunity for the local FE colleges to continue working collaboratively on developing and delivering training solutions to local skills needs. For us, our work will focus on skills for a net zero economy and leadership and management across the six key sectors identified within Berkshire’s LSIP.”



“The college is delighted to be working with further education providers across Berkshire and to have joined a successful delivery partnership who have already seen success with the Strategic Development Fund 2 (SDF2) projects throughout 2020 – 2023.”


The project will also see the partnership working together to support the training of new and inexperienced teachers, with a particular focus on designing solutions to address the difficulty in recruiting vocational specialists, including those looking to transition into new teaching careers having secured industry experience.


 “The recruitment of specialist vocational teachers is something that all FE colleges find challenging, so working together to find a solution for the sector is something very exciting,” added Andrea.


Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce has been designated as the employer representative body to implement and review the LSIPs for Berkshire and Oxfordshire. This continues to be done against a set of agreed priorities placing employers at the heart of their local skills system, creating more direct partnerships between employers and training providers.

Key contacts at New Directions College:

Andrea Wood


Phone: 07977 531743

Email: andrea.wood@reading.gov.uk


Paul Ducker

Education for Sustainable Development Lead

Phone: 0118 937 3185 | ext. 73185

Email: paul.ducker@reading.gov.uk


John Holland

Leadership & Management Lead

Tel: 07816 110555

Email: john.holland@reading.gov.uk