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South Devon College set to support local businesses with specialist skills for growth

South Devon College

South Devon College is at the forefront of specialist professional training and, utilising funding from the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF), is investing in more new facilities and equipment to support local employers in the development of skills vital for their workforce.

The fund allows the College to respond to the priority areas identified in the Devon and Somerset Local Skills Improvement Plan; Energy, Engineering and Digital.

This Plan was co-ordinated and written after extensive consultation with local businesses by Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce and Somerset Chamber of Commerce. Devon and Somerset colleges are now working together using the Plan and the Fund to improve how they meet the region’s skills needs. 

Energy, Engineering and Digital are significant growth opportunities for local businesses operating within these sectors but these areas also have the potential to positively impact traditional sectors including tourism and hospitality, by adding value and encouraging higher productivity. There will also be opportunities for existing and new supply chains serving these sectors including professional services.

Read on to find out more about what training and new facilities in each of these areas will be available to local businesses over the coming months.

Enhancing Digital Literacy and Specialist Skills – Cyber Security 

As the world becomes increasingly digitised, cyber security is becoming paramount for all of us. Businesses of all shapes and sizes face the very pervasive threat of potentially catastrophic cyber attacks, and training for staff at all levels across every sector is essential to minimise the potential impact for employers. 

The ‘Digital for All’ project will focus on developing specialist training within a unique Cyber Resilience Simulation Suite which offers a safe and secure environment, where organisations can simulate cyber attacks and test resilience and response strategies. This will allow realistic scenarios such as malware outbreaks, malicious hacking, ransomware or phishing campaigns to take place, meaning teams can evaluate existing cyber security measures and explore potential new options to take back to the workplace. 

The Simulation Suite will provide the opportunity for teams to experience what a real cyber attack would feel like in a safe environment, with a team of hackers trying to breach defences, whilst a second team works to detect and respond to the threats. 

Professional training will be available providing hands-on practice, training labs, online learning and theoretical instruction, for staff at all levels across an organisation, from awareness training designed to minimise risk to your business, through to specialist cyber security provision for IT professionals. 

A range of courses, from essential to advanced levels, will be on offer from the summer. This includes a level 3 ‘Introduction to Cyber Security’ course, offering a solid grounding in cyber security essentials, data privacy, risk assessment, online safety, threat detection, and encryption methods, using real-world case studies.

The Level 4 ‘Cyber Security Fundamentals’ will introduce security data, email, anti-virus and wireless devices, as well as back-up and recovery of data, and practice safe social networking security concepts.

The ‘Certified Ethical Hacker’ Level 5 certification focuses on penetration testing techniques, identifying attack surfaces and infrastructure vulnerabilities.

Driving our journey to Net Zero through clean energy 

The ‘Energising Our Sustainable Future’ project will enhance the College’s existing Electric Vehicle (EV) training provision, focusing on EV diagnostics. Construction is underway on a specialist EV diagnostic workshop and dual-purpose classroom.  

A Level 3 ‘Electric and Hybrid Electric System Repair and Replacement’ course is already available to businesses and employees who wish to develop skills in working safely on electric and hybrid vehicles. This course focuses on using and recording appropriate technical information to carry out repair tasks on high energy electrical systems.

This qualification is an official entry route into the Institute of the Motor Industry’s TechSafe recognition scheme, placing successful candidates onto the IMI professional register, highlighting competence and professionalism of both employee and employer.

The first candidates from across the South West have already successfully completed the course, and the next two rounds of training, in March and May, are already fully booked, but do get in touch to express an interest so that the team can let you know about future start dates.

The funding is also being used to expand the expertise of College staff needed to deliver the new courses, including liaising with local industry experts to design and develop the new Level 4 in the ‘Diagnosis, Testing and Repair of Electric/Hybrid Vehicles and Components’ which will be available in the autumn.

The College’s green construction provision will also see development, with the addition of a Photo Voltaic (PV) battery installation training facility. This facility will be available for local employers looking to upskill their staff in installing PV panels to support growing demand from the community as well as large construction firms.

Creating job opportunities in advanced engineering

The ‘Advanced Engineering’ project will support the continued expansion of South Devon College Marine Academy at Premier Marinas’ £75million Noss on Dart development. The College has invested in a Vessel Simulation Suite (VSS) with industry-leading simulators designed to train specialists on how different designs for boats behave in the water as well as developing specialist navigation skills.

The facility comprises bridge simulator and navigation simulator workstations, which will be used for the delivery of accredited and custom-designed training in vessel navigation and handling. In order to meet the training needs of employers, the range of vessel types to be used includes workboats, sea fishing vessels, superyachts, offshore renewables vessels and Unmanned Surface Vehicles – the remote controlled ‘robot boats’ that are already being tested on our seas. 

Specialist equipment has been selected for its suitability in meeting the needs of future developments in offshore renewables in the South West and will be well placed to support local employers in upskilling their workforce when these projects come to fruition. 

Reflecting on the opportunities that the Local Skills Improvement Fund represents for the local business community, Laurence Frewin, Principal and CEO at South Devon College, commented: “This is such an exciting time for Further Education. South Devon College is at the forefront of developing the technical skills needed to grow our local economy, providing a skilled workforce and creating employment for the local community, both now and in the future.

“We feel privileged to be able to support local businesses to develop the skills they need to grow. We’re keen to broaden our reach in the business community through these exciting new initiatives.

“If you haven’t been to the college recently, I’d encourage you to get in touch and arrange a visit – there’s nothing the team here at the college love more than surprising visitors with the facilities and opportunities for learning on offer right here in Torbay.”

For more information on any of the professional training available, please get in touch with the college’s Business Solutions team via email at employers@southdevon.ac.uk

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