D&A College to Launch Economic Partnership Team

Dundee & Angus College has launched an economic partnership team to aid Tayside businesses in enhancing the skills of its workforce.

The college is aiming to help local businesses recover as the country emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has invested heavily in the new economic partnership team, which will be out in Tayside supporting businesses.

Principal Simon Hewitt is proud to offer support to local businesses.

He says: “It will be out supporting businesses differently, working closely with them to find out what the business needs, what we can do and what can we support with.

“We will help them step back and look at their workforce plan and understand what it will mean to grow, and also help them understand the opportunities that are out there right now.”

The youngest principal in Scotland started out as a part-time student at the college 13 years ago.

In January 2020, the college suffered a cyber attack just before the pandemic closed down campuses.

Now, Mr Hewitt is ready for the college to be a key part in Tayside’s economic recovery.

He says: “We’ve been surviving for so long it’s time to move from surviving to thriving.

“There are so many good things that are happening right now in the region.

“We’re a lead partner on the skills academy for the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc, and obviously a lead partner for the esports arena.

“We know the art of the possible now, we can be much more flexible in delivery and do things differently.

“We really want to support businesses to step back and look at how they do things.”

To help businesses upskill their workforce, the college offers the Flexible Workforce Development Fund, allowing local employers to access training and funds.

Going forward, Mr Hewitt believes apprenticeships will be integral to the region’s workforce.

Particularly in non-traditional areas such as hospitality, digital and cyber security, there will be a higher demand for skilled staff.

He says: “I think we look at apprenticeships as a very traditional thing, when actually they’re needed to help the region refocus.

“Everyone’s looking at workforce planning now, thinking about how they emerge, and the college will play a key role there.”

The college has also been part of a national pilot looking at how further education establishments can be part of regional growth.

Working alongside local partners, the college has explored how it can positively impact the local community.

Mr Hewitt says: “We’ve developed the regional inclusive growth action plan in partnership, thinking hard about how the college can be the glue that holds a lot of the good things that are going on together.

“Fundamentally, that’s where we should be, and we will do whatever we need to do.

“We will listen, adapt, change and be agile enough to respond to what businesses and individuals need within the region.”

Supporting 17,000 learners every year, the college is one of the biggest providers of adult skills in the region.

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