Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 09.58.42Two influential north east professional bodies have merged in an effort to better support the mission to address skills shortages in the region.

Two confederations of training providers – Northumbria Learning Providers and County Durham Learning Provider Network – have joined forces and named their new alliance North East Learning Providers.

The move aligns the training companies with the geographical coverage of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and will make it easier for them to work with the LEP and the North East Combined Authority on regional strategies for skills and employment.

North East Learning Providers (NELP) – which represents 60 training companies – is keen to respond to the LEP’s strategic objectives to address the current and future skills needs of employers and learners, develop higher level skills in support of better jobs and provide access to high quality training.

Chairman of North East Learning Providers, Malcolm Armstrong, comments: “Merging the two networks strengthens the voice of training providers in the north east and makes sure our vast knowledge of what local employers need in terms of skills is utilised strategically.”

Malcolm, who is also managing director of Access Training and Pitman Training (Newcastle), sits on the LEP’s Employment and Skills Board alongside a wide range of other key stakeholders within the region.

NELP is also engaging with the LEP’s Apprenticeship Growth Partnership to help hit ambitious targets to grow apprenticeship numbers in the region. NELP members provide more than 70 percent of apprenticeship training in the north east.

Malcolm explained: “Our members provide the lion’s share of apprenticeship and adult skills training in the north east so we are very well placed to advise on how to ensure young people are equipped and qualified to access the opportunities in a modern economy. We want to ensure high quality training facilities are available to support a higher skilled workforce.”

North East Learning Providers has launched a new website – www.nelp.co.uk – and is encouraging potential members to get in touch to find out how the organisation can help them.

NELP provides a direct link with funding bodies so that members can clearly understand and interpret how changes in national further education policy affect them. The network also helps members get ahead by sharing best practice, working together on projects and collectively applying for funding.

The network, whose members deliver over 10,000 apprenticeships across the region each year, is the largest of its kind in the north of England. Its members include colleges, private training providers, local authorities and voluntary organisations which all work with businesses to up-skill their workforces and also provide training for the unemployed.