Supporting Technical Education in Lancashire (STELa)

The Supporting Technical Education in Lancashire (STELa) project will increase engagement of Lancashire’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in technical education – both through supporting students with industrial placements and work experience, and in their involvement co-creating curricula that meet business needs of today and tomorrow.

STELa launched April 2021 and is being supported by the European Social Fund. It will involve about 400 SMEs across the county.

Preston College is one of five STELa education partners across the Lancashire LEP area, and the initiative is being led regionally by The Lancashire Colleges.

STELa has been designed to help SMEs to:

  • Better understand their workforce and skills needs and the potential opportunities for industry placements and other work experience opportunities;
  • Promote the benefits of greater engagement in the education and skills system be that through offering placement opportunities or influencing curriculum content;
  • Increase the volume and variety of industry placements and other work experience opportunities available for college students;
  • Develop and trial innovative placement and work experience models which may be more attractive or practical for the SME’s individual circumstances and/or more appropriate to a student’s needs;
  • Support them before, during and after placements take place to ensure they are meaningful and add value for both the SME and the student as well as being safe and compliant. The support provided to each SME will be bespoke according to their needs and the number and type of placements they are able to provide.
  • Design and develop the content of the technical education curriculum through involvement in advisory and focus groups, helping to ensure it meets their current and emerging skills needs;
  • Design engaging and practical ways to involve them in curriculum delivery e.g. through offering masterclasses or project-based learning opportunities to students;
  • Refer them to alternative sources of support where e.g. a workforce skills development need is identified during the course of this project.

For more information about how you can get involved, please contact our project lead, Debbie Ireland at


Skip to content