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How to upskill your team and improve your business

Introduction from Nicki Hudson, Head of Employer Services for Rise at Calderdale College:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has radically impacted businesses across Calderdale. As a result of this enterprises have had to adapt and change to meet new demands. This has had an extraordinary effect on the skills requirements of businesses across the region, with many organisations now finding themselves under resourced in vital areas, and over resourced in others.

“This has made skills development a fundamental aspect of business survival for many in 2021. It is hoped this guide, along with the expertise offered by the Rise team here at Calderdale College, will help to alleviate the impact of skills gaps across Calderdale.”

Identifying skills gaps

Skills gaps can be very disruptive for companies, not least when organisations are already under external pressure. This guide has been designed to help you identify potential pressure points in your company so that you can seek the expert advice available to you.

Identify company goals so you can assess what skills you will need in the short and longer term

Consider your team’s current skillset and identify the roles required to reach your goals

Create an inventory of skills for each role required

Map the skills your team already has against the list of required skills

Compare the skills you need to develop against the skills you already have within your business to find those most suited to further development

Close the gap by touching base with experts to address any areas where there is a clear need for skills provision

In the matrix we can see that accessing third party advice is the final stage for businesses looking to address skills gaps in their organisations. 

At Rise, we are specialists in skills provision, and can help local businesses to access free and part funded training to help plug gaps in skills. We are also well connected within the local business community, so can point businesses in the direction of other support services available.

Top tips to upskilling your team

During such uncertain times, it’s essential that employers continue to invest in and develop their teams – their single, most important asset. Here are Rise’s top tips to address skills needs in your organisation:

  1. Pressure points: First and foremost, identify the most critical pressure points impacting your business – the sooner you identify the problems, the sooner you’ll arrive at a tangible solution.
  2. Access external support: You are not alone – Calderdale is alive with business support opportunities for local businesses. Reach out to organisations such as Rise to access the support available to your business.
  3. Evaluate your skills needs: The pandemic has shifted the shape of many businesses, and as a result skills requirements have changed. Access free advice from the experts at Rise to discover how you can plug gaps in your company.
  4. Plan for tomorrow, work for today: Even if businesses have been closed completely, there is still opportunity to plan and organise for the future. Consider where you want to take your business and other potential revenue sources you can tap into as you wait for restrictions to lift.
  5. Communication: Your business may be shut, or restricted in its services, or perhaps you are overwhelmed with an influx of unexpected requests, either way communication is key. From managing customer expectations to being clear and open with staff, clear communications help to build trust and positive sentiment for the future.

Where to access support

The Calderdale business ecosystem is rich with support opportunities for businesses. Here at Rise we are strong advocates of the following organisation that work to help mobilise and support businesses during challenging times.

  • Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council ‘Support for Businesses’ – This resource is an excellent signposting tool to help businesses access Coronavirus funding support, and other programmes available to them on a local, regional and national level. Find out more via the Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council website: https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/coronavirus/businesses/support
  • Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership – The Leeds City Region LEP provides support and funding to help businesses grow, attract new investment to the region, and develop the skills, energy and digital infrastructure to create jobs and prosperity. Access the wealth of support available here: https://www.the-lep.com/
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority Growth Service – Through the Growth Service, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) brings together public and private sector partners to promote, coordinate and deliver a wide range of business support based on local needs. For more information visit: https://www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/growing-the-economy/growth-service/
  • UK business support hub – This resource offers business support to help ease the pressures of the pandemic. Get in touch with the experts at Rise and they will point you in the right direction to access loans, tax relief, cash grants and self-employed trading profit grants.

Find out more at the Gov Business Support website here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support