Businesses in Greater Lincolnshire can take advantage of free training to boost growth.
Businesses in Greater Lincolnshire are being urged to take advantage of free training that is being offered to local businesses to help upskill staff, raise productivity and boost business growth.
A fund of £6 million has been made available for businesses in the region through the Skills Support for the Workforce project - but businesses only have until spring next year to apply.
The scheme, which is funded by the European Social Fund, was launched by the Greater Lincolnshire LEP last year to give businesses the chance for their staff to gain professional training across a range of skills and sectors.
There are over 500,000 people of working age living in Greater Lincolnshire, offering great economic strength and growth potential in industries such as food and agriculture, as well as manufacturing, engineering and logistics.
However, some employers have reported that they find it difficult to recruit because potential employees lack academic qualifications.
Employers in the area estimate that six per cent of their workforce has no qualifications and in key industries such as agrifood, manufacturing and engineering this rises to 10 per cent.
Ebrahim Dockrat, External Funding Director of Calderdale College, the prime contractor responsible for delivering the project, explains: “Based on the region’s specific skills gaps, we have developed a range of flexible and bespoke training plans, designed to help businesses grow.
“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.”
Research has found that employees who undertake non-compulsory, work-related training do their jobs better and are more satisfied with their work. However, a lack of time and potential costs act as a barrier to accessing training. The Skills Support for the Workforce project is designed to tackle these challenges.
Businesses across the country are already benefiting from the training, such as the Kenwick Park Estate, near Louth, a 34-bedroom hotel and lodge complex with spa and golf course.
Melissa Watson, General Manager of the Kenwick Park Hotel, said: “The WorldHost training, which is just one of the courses offered through Skills Support for the Workforce, was delivered by First College and has helped to get everyone in our business on the same page.
“Our skill gaps in customer service were identified in the training needs assessment. This was then addressed in the training, which has given our staff the right skills to promote the business in a uniform way to deliver a consistent level of service to customers.
“Some members of staff are now looking at further training to develop skills and sustain our high level of service and we have plans for all new staff to complete the WorldHost training offered by Skills Support for the Workforce.
"In addition, the company is now applying for WorldHost recognition, which demonstrates that a business has developed a culture of excellent service and also shows that it is willing to invest in staff members’ professional development.”
The project is co-financed by the European Union’s European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency and is available for businesses seeking non-compulsory work-based training to support their business growth plan.
“As this training is funded with European money this is the last project of its kind,” explained Mr Dockrat. “This funding is only available until July 2018 and so it’s a case of get it while you still can.”
Delivered by Calderdale College, the country’s largest provider of European Social Fund funded training, through local providers, the training is for businesses based in Greater Lincolnshire with an annual turnover of less than £50 million.
For more information, and to see if your business is eligible for fully funded training, please visit http://ssw.fundingunit.org.uk/areas/greater-lincolnshire/.