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East Midlands Chamber News

Leicestershire SMEs miss out on free skills training

Businesses in Leicestershire are being urged to take advantage of free leadership and management training that is being offered to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help upskill staff, raise productivity and boost business growth.

Up to £1.8m is available for businesses in the region to upskill their workforce through the Skills Support for the Workforce project, but businesses have only until spring next year to apply.

The scheme, funded by the European Social Fund, launched last year to give SMEs the chance for their staff to receive professional leadership and management training across all sectors.

There are more than 425,800 people of working age living in Leicestershire. However, employers have reported that they find it difficult to recruit employees with the required qualifications or level of training, particularly when it comes to leadership and management skills.

Ebrahim Dockrat, External Funding Director at Calderdale College, the prime contractor responsible for delivering for the project, said: “Based on the region’s specific skills gaps, we have developed a range of flexible and bespoke training plans, designed to help SMEs in Leicestershire grow their business.

“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.

The project is co-financed by the European Union’s European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency and is available for SMEs 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,” said Mr Dockrat. “This funding is available only until July 2018 and so it’s a case of get it whilst you still can.”

The training is for businesses based in the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) area, employing fewer than 250 people with an annual turnover of less than £50m.

For more information and to see if your business is eligible for fully-funded training visit http://bit.ly/2esfG0q.