...to transform local opportunities as agile partners in growth

Independent providers have extensive experience of working in partnership: with other higher education institutions, professional bodies, employers, local authorities and community groups.

Building from their specialist focus and entrepreneurial approach, they can respond with agility to the changing needs of the industry and the community in which they operate.

Everywhere that independent providers prosper, so too do the opportunities for more students from more backgrounds and with more diverse ambitions to participate in and benefit from tertiary education.

The next Government should:

7. Incentivise employers and employees together to invest in higher skills

A broader-based employer levy should fund Lifelong Learning Entitlement (LLE) modules for continuing professional development as well as longer programmes and apprenticeships for entry into an industry.

This should encourage SMEs who predominate in sectors such as the creative industries, and who are put off by the inflexibility of the apprenticeship model, to invest in upskilling their staff through a modular approach.

Businesses should be granted a super-deduction on tax for investing funds into their employees’ LLE accounts directly, and offer a salary sacrifice scheme for additional investment themselves.

Equivalent schemes should be available for the self-employed. An accompanying national entrepreneurship programme could be assembled from a range of specialist LLE modules.

8. Create a new rapid response mechanism for addressing local skills shortages

The Immigration Skills Charge payable on Skilled Worker visas should be strengthened and all revenue generated should be ringfenced for a Rapid Response Skills Development Fund.

A national skills body should continually monitor employers’ use of the visa route and other leading indicators of skills shortages around the country, and allocate funding to local skills delivery authorities to meet acute needs.

These new local funds should be made available via a bidding process which identifies providers with the right specialist expertise to offer Lifelong Learning Entitlement (LLE) modules, short courses and bootcamps for free to unemployed and underemployed local residents.

Industry-driven independent technical institutes are perfectly placed to adapt their existing specialist provision rapidly to meet the specific needs identified.

MetFilm School

MetFilm is an internationally renowned film school with partnerships across the film, television and media industry. With its headquarters in the storied Ealing Studios, MetFilm students are immersed in the industry from day one of their studies.

When Leeds City Council wanted to expand the film and television industry in Leeds, MetFilm was perfectly placed to meet local skills needs through their relationship with the local independent Prime Studios, next door to ITV. Working in partnership, they created a new campus within the state-of-the-art media production facility, playing a vital role in making Leeds an emerging northern hub for film and TV, with Channel 4 also moving their headquarters to the city.

Setting up a campus in Leeds has also led to more local collaborations to support skills development, including projects with Screen Yorkshire’s Centre of Screen Excellence: West Yorkshire and with Leeds City Council.

MetFilm School’s role in Leeds started simple, providing the specialised education needed as a catalyst to kick-start growth in a local industry with huge potential and the support of its local government. As experts in short, practical training in industry settings, MetFilm School has set an example for other independent providers to follow in delivering for towns and cities across the UK with an emerging industry ready for growth.