Over a thousand Leicestershire employees benefit from free skills training

Over 1,800 employees in Leicestershire have benefited from free skills training this year through the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) initiatives to help businesses in the region raise productivity and boost business growth, by upskilling their staff.

The LLEP has invested £8.4m through its European Social Fund Programme, together with the Education and Skills Funding Agency to deliver three ‘Skills Support for the Workforce’ (SSW) projects in the region.

Based on the skills needs in the area, three separate projects have been established to make it easier for businesses across the region to access the right training for their needs.

Calderdale College is delivering Leadership & Management Skills training, the Business Enterprise Skills programme is delivered by North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College and Open Doors Skills Metro is responsible for overseeing the wider diverse range of training across all sectors.

The latest figures show that 1,815 employees from across 720 businesses in Leicestershire have benefited from these schemes to date.

Nick Pulley, LLEP Chair, said: “It is hugely encouraging to see what has been achieved in the first phase of these programmes and that collectively, over 1,800 individuals across the region have had the opportunity to develop their skills through the funding available.

“To hear how businesses of all types have benefited, from manufacturers to health care providers, highlights Leicestershire’s diverse business landscape but also the appetite from companies to invest in the skills of their staff to promote growth in Leicestershire.”

A fund of £1.8m has been created specifically for The Skills Support for the Workforce Leadership & Management Skills programme, which is being delivered by Calderdale College, and offers businesses the chance for their staff to gain professional leadership and management training.

Employers have reported that they find it difficult to recruit people with the right qualifications, skillset or level of training, particularly when it comes to leadership and management skills. The bespoke training courses have been designed to address this and include people management, strategic management, financial management, and project management, to name a few.

Figures from the LLEP show that only 56.3% of businesses in the region survive three years and by upskilling supervisors, managers and leaders it gives businesses and organisations greater propensity to succeed as they are able to manage the process of growth.

On top of this, £1.2m has been allocated for SSW’s Business Enterprise Skills programme - delivered by North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College - which focuses on encouraging enterprise culture within SMEs and amongst younger people.

The project includes community-based activities in key local areas, support for those at risk of redundancy and civil society support to encourage innovative social enterprise models. It also offers flexible skills programmes to develop the core competencies needed to start and grow a business, such as accounting, accessing funding, financial and business planning, IT, marketing, regulation, legal issues and sales.

The scheme’s third and largest project, Open Doors, is delivered by Interserve Learning & Employment. This contract is valued at £5.4 million and provides training in anything that local businesses need.

Because this offer is so vast, the company works with a number of supply chain partners across Leicestershire to offer a diverse range of training across all sectors from construction, health & social care, spectator safety, manufacturing and transport. Courses include Leading a Team to Succeed, Customer Service Excellence, a range of IT courses and H&S courses and lots more.

Research has found that employees that 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, challenges which the Skills Support for the Workforce projects are designed to tackle.

Nick added: “We have also just launched two ESF calls worth £1.9m for organisations to deliver more projects for Leadership & Management Skills and Skills for Sector Led Growth. The LLEP has a further £6m to allocate through our ESF Programme that runs until 2020.”

For more information and to see if your business is eligible for fully-funded training through Skills Support for the Workforce, please visit: