£3m skills boost for Greater Lincolnshire SMEs

Greater Lincolnshire’s businesses are being encouraged to take advantage of free training in the region, as a further £3m of funding has been made available.

The fund, accessible through the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) project and co-financed by the European Social Fund, will give companies, including SMEs and sole traders, the opportunity to offer their employees professional training across a range of skills and sectors.

Nigel Brough, regional development manager of the SSW project in Greater Lincolnshire, said: “The project has already made a significant impact in the region, having helped 900 businesses and 4,000 employees gain new skills over the last 12 months.

“Securing an additional £3m funding means we will be able to extend that reach and support even more businesses, helping them to achieve their growth plans by offering them the opportunity to upskill employees through free training and improved productivity. Each employer receives a bespoke training programme, taking into account what works for them and their business in terms of training locations and timings.”

The £3m of funding is an extension of the SSW programme, which pairs local providers with employers based on their location and the specific type of training required, has been running across the region for the last year.

Working with the Greater Lincolnshire LEP to close the area’s skills gaps, SSW has courses in wide-ranging employability skills sought by employers as well as specific courses across the LEP’s six priority sectors: agri-food, health and care, manufacturing, visitor economy, ports and logistics, and low carbon.

Clare Hughes, skills manager at the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, said: “The proportion of our working population with no qualifications is higher than the national average, and the most prominent gap is within our 16-34 year olds. To help combat this, we really need to focus on inspiring and supporting our workforce to upskill.

“We know that businesses across a range of sectors in the area are growing, and there are exciting opportunities ahead, so we want to help employers and their employees prepare by providing fully-funded training opportunities through our Skills Support for the Workforce programme.”

The project is co-financed by the European Union’s European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency and is available for employers seeking non-compulsory work-based training to support their business growth plans. The courses are delivered by a network of local training providers in partnership with Calderdale College, which oversees the delivery of the programme.

“As this training is funded with European money this could be the last project of its kind,” explained Nigel Brough. “This funding is only available until March 2019 and so it’s a case of taking advantage while it’s still available.”

For more information and to see if your business is eligible for fully-funded training please click here.

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