2,000 employees in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding benefit from free skills training

Over 2,000 employees in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding have benefited from a programme offering free skills training to support businesses in the region, to raise productivity and boost business growth.

In the last year, the Skills Support for the Workforce programme has provided fully funded training to over 600 businesses in the region. However, businesses in East Riding are missing out with the district trailing behind its neighbours in claiming the free training from the £4.7m fund.

The training is specifically designed to help SMEs across York, North Yorkshire and East Riding to upskill their workforce to fill the region’s skills gaps. The programme focuses particularly on agriculture, voluntary, community and social enterprise, construction, bio renewables, health and social care, food manufacture, visitor economy and engineering sectors as these are expected to drive employment, GVA growth, or to have significant on-going employment opportunities for the region.

Ebrahim Dockrat, Director of External Funding at Calderdale College, the contractor delivering the project, said: “It is hugely encouraging to see what has been achieved in the first year of this programme and that 2,000 people across the region have had the opportunity to develop their skills.

“To hear how businesses of all types have benefited, from agri-tech to health and social care, highlights not only the diverse business landscape of the region but also how much appetite there is from companies to invest in the skills of their staff to promote growth.

“As this training is funded with European money this is the last project of its kind,” explained Mr Dockrat. “Businesses have until Spring 2018 to express interest, so it’s a case of benefiting whilst they still can. It’s important that we help businesses across the region to grow and take advantage of this which is why I would urge businesses in East Riding not to miss their chance to train staff for free.”

Not only can training help increase productivity and the services that businesses can offer, it also motivates and engages the workforce and, as a result, improves employee retention through increased confidence and job satisfaction, as well as giving businesses a competitive edge.

Yorkshire Heart, a North Yorkshire based vineyard and brewery, benefited from the fully-funded programme, training staff in Level 4 bookkeeping, Microsoft Excel, social media and marketing. Prior to any training, the business expressed concern around time and cost implications. Utilising the courses available from Skills Support for the Workforce, Yorkshire Heart has reported increased productivity across the business as a whole because of the new IT skills, as well as an increase in staff confidence, particularly in promoting the business which is helping attract new customers.

The Skills Support for the Workforce project is co-financed by the European Union’s European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency and is available for SMEs seeking non-compulsory work-based training to support their business growth plan.

Delivered by Calderdale College – one of the country’s largest providers of European Social Fund funded training - through local providers, the training is available for SMEs across East Riding and North Yorkshire who have until Spring 2018 to access the funding.

For more information about the courses on offer click here, call 0845 644 3753 or email funding@calderdale.ac.uk.

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