Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are urged to take advantage of a £4,500,000 skills training fund to upskill their workforce.
The training is delivered as part of a programme called Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW), which Serco’s Employment, Skills & Enterprise business is managing across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
Under the 28-month programme which launched in April, Serco will work in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to provide skills development that focuses on upskilling employees in key priority sectors as identified in the LEP’s strategic economic plan:
• Advanced manufacturing; applied materials, agri-tech, aero-auto, medical technology and energy generation
• Business and professional services
• Tourism and Leisure.
The programme in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire will focus on targeting local employers with recruitment needs in the following LEP occupational areas:
• STEM skills development within Healthcare, Medical Technologies
• IT, Digital and Media
• Utilities and Engineering/Manufacturing sectors
• Logistics and distribution
• Construction and civil engineering
• Creative & Cultural Industries
• Tourism & Leisure
• Hospitality & Catering
Through SSW, eligible businesses can benefit from funded training, tailored to their specific needs.
Training is flexible and businesses can select full qualifications or mix and match individual units that are directly relevant to their work. Previous SSW programme participants have benefited from increased employee confidence, motivation and productivity and improved employee loyalty and retention.
Business participants will each benefit from a bespoke Training Needs Analysis that identifies requirements for upskilling or skills gaps in their workforce. Training for participant businesses could cover subjects such as IT and digital skills, leadership and management or more vocationally relevant courses.
The SSW programme in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire also offers support and training for individuals at risk of redundancy or those who have been made redundant within the last three months.
To deliver the programme, which is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Serco has partnered with expert training organisations to offer local businesses recognised accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses, aiming to enhance employees’ skills and increase the competitiveness of the businesses.
Rob Matts, Head of Skills Support for the Workforce at Serco, said:
I am delighted that Serco has been selected by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to manage the SSW programme in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire in partnership with the LEP. We have already supported more than 20,000 learners through our SSW delivery across England with more than 7000 businesses benefitting from this important service.
I would urge businesses or, individuals that may be facing redundancy, to get in touch with our team and take advantage of the funded training on offer. We look forward to enabling many more businesses to take advantage of SSW training to upskill their staff and grow their businesses.”
David Frost DL CBE, Chair of Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
Raising Skills of our young people and existing workforce is a key priority for Stoke & Staffordshire LEP and helps us to improve progression and personal ambition of employees and employers. I am therefore delighted that the Skills Support for the Workforce programme is available in our area for businesses working within priority sectors for our economy.”
Serco also delivers this programme in Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Derby & Derbyshire, Dorset, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough, Heart of the South West, Hertfordshire, Leicester & Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire, South East Midlands, Swindon & Wiltshire, West of England and Worcestershire.