Skills Support for the Workforce upskills almost 600 York, North Yorkshire and East Riding businesses as programme ends

The Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) Programme is celebrating having supported almost 600 businesses and over 2,200 employees since April 2019.

As the programme draws to a close at the end of this month, it has achieved its aims of driving significant financial growth and productivity for hundreds of SMEs across the region through free, flexible skills training to hundreds of local businesses, including through specialised courses across York, North Yorkshire and East Riding’s key priority sectors.

Following completion of the training, 98% of employers said that they would recommend SSW to other businesses, with one employer commenting that they were now expecting a £60k increase in turnover.[1]

The training was delivered by Calderdale College working in partnership with specialist local and regional training providers and was made possible through funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

Helen Howland, Head of the Skills Support for the Workforce Programme in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding, said: “After four years of working closely with SME employers to understand their skills and training needs, we’re absolutely delighted with the feedback and results generated. Across the programme’s duration, employers have been hit with some very challenging economic conditions, from the pandemic to the cost-of-living crisis, and we’re proud to have played our part in helping them to build business resilience, navigate through these challenges and stand themselves in great stead for the future.

“We want to say a special thank you to the specialist regional training providers who have worked with us throughout this process, without whose hard work and determination these fantastic results would not be possible.”

Andrew Leeming, Head of Strategy at the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s great to see the impact of Skills Support for the Workforce. It’s given local people the expertise they need to succeed and businesses the ability to grow and create further good-quality jobs.”

The SSW programme was co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) – an EU established fund to help local areas stimulate economic development through skills and job creation. It included team working and vocational qualifications and technical skills support, as well as specialised courses across the region’s key priority sectors, including: Food Manufacturing and Engineering, Digital, Construction, Visitor Economy, Health and Social Care, Bio-economy, and Voluntary and Community.

While Skills Support for the Workforce finishes at the end of March 2023, there are various other skills support opportunities for employers across York, North Yorkshire and East Riding.

The Business Scale Up Programme provides expertise to help employers understand and address their leadership and management challenges through personalised consultancy and training, while The Apprenticeship Hub is a free service to support businesses to help recruit and upskill staff through apprenticeships through access to free training, support and guidance. 

[1] York, North Yorkshire and East Riding business survey, February 2023

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