National non-foods crop centre staff develops skills through fully funded training

National non-foods crop centre staff develops skills through fully funded training

NNFCC is embarking on a training programme to help its staff to develop their skills and boost the business.

The challenge

Since its creation in 2003 the National Non-Foods Crop Centre (NNFCC) has grown to become a leading commercial bioeconomy consultancy serving an international client base across bioenergy and bio-based products.

In this evolving and competitive sector it is vital that the company’s staff members are trained to use the latest relevant software for their business operations. However, finding a training provider that can deliver an employer responsive skills programme and then funding it can be a challenge for a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).

The Solution

The Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) project offers fully funded training designed to help SMEs fill skill gaps, raise productivity and boost business growth. In fact, over £4.7 million is now available for SMEs in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding for training.

It is co-financed through the European Union’s European Social Fund and Skills Funding Agency and is available for SMEs seeking non-compulsory work-based training to support their business growth plan. Training is for businesses operating in Agriculture, including Agritech; Bio Renewables and Bio-Economy; Food Manufacture; Construction; Engineering; Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise; Visitor Economy; and Health and Social Care.

Staff development through professionally delivered training, offered at no cost to a business, can help to increase productivity, motivate and engage staff and improve employee retention. Research has found that employees that undertake non-compulsory work-related training do their jobs better and are more satisfied with their work but a lack of time and possible costs can act as barriers to accessing training. The Skills Support for the Workforce project is designed to address these challenges.

Fully funded training for NNFCC

The NNFCC was one of the first SMEs to access this funding at York College, a delivery partner for the project. Three managers from NNFCC attended a SharePoint 2013 programme, designed to help the company develop more efficient and effective working practices.

Christine Appleyard, NNFCC Office Manager, explained: “We found the initial IT skills training programmes very useful for our team members and so we plan to send more of the team on these and other programmes.

“As a small business it is vital we support our employees to develop the skills and knowledge needed to ensure the successful operation and ultimately the growth of our business. This funding allows us to support training that we may not have otherwise been able to access.

“NNFCC has also been able to access fully funded training in the areas of Excel Intermediate and Advanced skills, Introduction and Marketing, Report Writing and Delegating and Managing Upwards,” added Christine.

Ebrahim Dockrat, director of Calderdale College, prime contractor for the project highlighted the SSW benefits: “We offer a range of flexible, bespoke training plans designed to help your business grow. By training your staff you can improve your ability to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment, nurture a leadership team for the future and make you an employer of choice for emerging talent.

“As this training is funded with European money this is the last project of its kind,” added Mr Dockrat. “This funding is only available until July 2018 and so it’s a case of get it whilst you still can.”

For more information on the Skills Support for the Workforce project and to see if your business is eligible for fully funded training please visit