Calderdale College has secured an additional £5.7m from the European Social Fund (ESF) through the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to help SMEs upskill their workforce.
This additional pot of money means the college can extend the programme in Tees Valley, Greater Lincolnshire and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding to provide further support and focus on supporting businesses to help them grow and increase productivity.
Employers in the selected regions can benefit from the fund, which will run until March 2019, and support sectors such as engineering, agriculture, tourism, digital and health and social care.
The cash boost comes after the college secured over £30m of ESF funding to launch the SSW programme in 2016 across seven regions. Since then the money has benefited over 4,000 businesses, while 17,320 individuals have gained new skills through the additional training.
Ebrahim Dockrat, external funding director of Calderdale College, said: “The additional funding means we can really focus on working with the Local Enterprise Partnerships to tackle crucial barriers these regions are facing.
“This fund has been invaluable in being able to get to the heart of the skills problem affecting SME productivity across the UK and helping create employment opportunities, tackle vital skills shortages and generate more value for the regional economies in key sectors.
“We know that businesses in these areas are growing, and there are exciting opportunities ahead, and we are looking forward to continuing to support them by delivering this programme for another nine months.”
A number of businesses have already benefited from the training, including Epworth-based E. Park and Sons Ltd. Through SSW their employees undertook a programme of training which included Improving operational performance, industrial environment awareness and team leading and functional skills courses to increase the skill sets of existing staff and improve staff retention and on-site safety.
Ebrahim Dockrat adds: “When you hear how businesses like E. Park and Sons Ltd are benefiting, it shows that investing in workforce development is a smart move for any business wanting to secure its future and remain competitive.”
Peter Johnson, funding manager at the York, North Yorkshire, East Riding Enterprise Partnership, said: “We want a local workforce that is constantly developing new skills, helping to not only grow our area’s businesses but also to create fulfilling careers for those who work here.”
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