Julie Kapsalis, Managing Director at Chichester College Group

The national and international attention around the forthcoming #COP26 brings a valuable opportunity for colleges and employers to come together to try to address some of the skills challenges around development (and in turn economic development) in related sectors.

Chichester College Group (CCG) and FE Sussex successfully led a consortium across eight further education and sixth-form colleges, in partnership with Sussex Chamber of Commerce as the lead employer representative body, in a bid to boost skills training in sustainable industries.

The outcome is we have recently secured more than £7 million funding as part of the Government’s Local Skills Improvement Plans and Strategic Development Fund pilots.

Collectively we identified six cross-sector priority areas where we need to develop capacity and expertise in skills:

  1. Construction (decarbonisation agenda);
  2. Horticulture and agriculture (food production and visitor economy);
  3. Creative, IT and digital;
  4. Engineering and electric vehicle infrastructure development;
  5. Hydrogen and alternative energy production techniques (looking at waste and water); and
  6. Carbon literacy (particularly in terms of raising awareness of opportunities within the sector with young people).

The bid responds to the carbon neutral agenda (post-2020 Paris agreement), the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, and the Government’s targets for carbon neutral operation by 2035 – and our own strategic objectives:

  • Upskilling the workforce (at level 3 and above) to enable significant progress to be made towards meeting the net zero agenda. 
  • Creating centres of excellence in teaching and learning for green technologies.
  • Ensuring the curriculum reflects local and sub-regional employer needs of skills development.
  • Driving relationships between employers and colleges.
  • Training staff to specialise in skill shortage areas and sharing this expertise peer to peer.
  • Devising modular sets of specialist digital curriculum resources common to all colleges. 
  • Seconding college staff to employers for upskilling in current technology and working practices. 
  • Paying for employers to deliver specific specialist aspects of skills shortage areas.

The colleges:

  • Bexhill College,
  • Brighton, Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC),
  • College of Richard Collyer,
  • East Sussex College Group,
  • Greater Brighton Metropolitan Group (GB Met),
  • Plumpton College, and
  • Vardean College

are now working together to deliver five projects following the announcement in July:

  1. Alternative energy and hydrogen technologies (led by CCG).
  2. Land management strategies and practices for environmental land management schemes (led by Plumpton College, with Brinsbury College).
  3. Electric vehicle training centres (led by GB Met).
  4. Decarbonisation academies in Sussex (led by East Sussex College Group).
  5. Establishing carbon literacy and sustainability awareness (led by BHASVIC).

Through these projects we aim to accelerate the development of green tech skills across Sussex. The funding will enable us to invest in specialist new teaching facilities and expertise across the eight colleges, and in turn support the curriculum offered by the colleges with a focus on long-term skills priorities of local areas.

I can only echo the comments of our Chief Executive Shelagh Legrave CBE upon the funding announcement:

“This is a fantastic boost for skills training and development across the whole Sussex region. Businesses have been struggling to recruit people with the right skills, and while colleges do a fantastic job in skills training, there are some industry gaps where the right equipment or expertise may not be available to deliver the best training.

"Working collaboratively with partners at other colleges across the whole of the Sussex region reflects the need to develop a region-wide approach to improving skills training and will hugely benefit young people and employers in our local areas.”

We are extremely proud to be one of eight trailblazers across the country to pilot some of the key recommendations of the ‘Skills for jobs: lifelong learning for opportunity and growth’ white paper which was published in January.

There is every opportunity for further collaboration, across sectors, as we move this agenda forward.

Julie Kapsalis is Managing Director at Chichester College Group, Chair at Coast to Coast LEP, and a former Director of the Institute of Economic Development

You may also be interested in these articles:

Adaptations for 21-22 and beyond - #FutureOfAssessment Episode 3

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page