£5.6m workforce training programme launched for Lancashire businesses
News - Tuesday, 16th September, 2014
Thousands of businesses and employees across Lancashire are set to benefit from free workforce training after Lancashire County Council launched a new £5.6 million programme which will be delivered by Preston’s College and other Lancashire training providers.
Lancashire Skills Support for the Workforce (LSS) aims to support 3,817 employees aged 19 and over who are working in the county’s small and medium sized businesses.
Businesses qualifying for the £5.6m scheme will receive a free training needs analysis. Eligible employees within the business can then access free accredited training from leading providers based on their skills requirements.
Training available through the scheme will include a mix of basic and higher level skills, leadership and management skills, as well as technical and industry specialist qualifications.
Whilst all small or medium enterprises are eligible to apply, the programme, which is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and aligned to the growth ambitions of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), is particularly keen to attract businesses in the following growth sectors:
- Advanced engineering & manufacturing
- Energy, environment and low carbon
- Financial and professional services
- Creative and digital
- Leisure, tourism and visitor economy
- Health occupations
- Professional, scientific and technical occupations
Owen McLaughlin, chair of the Lancashire Skills Board and vice chair of the LEP said: “The need for skilled staff is shared by all businesses regardless of their sector. This ambitious programme allows us to help the county’s businesses to address any ‘skills gaps’ that could be holding back their growth potential.
“We are committed to ensuring that Lancashire residents are fully equipped to succeed in the workplace and have the skills to help our local businesses to be profitable and competitive on a national and global scale.”
County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “We’ve already seen with Boost Business Lancashire that there is an appetite for growth among the county’s businesses. For growth to be achieved, our businesses need access to a highly-trained and motivated workforce.
“We’re listening to businesses and they often tell us that workforce training is a priority. By bringing together ambitious businesses and leading training providers we can provide fantastic development opportunities for the county’s workforce.”
The LSS delivery partnership currently comprises Accrington and Rossendale College, Age UK Lancashire, Blackburn College, Blackpool and the Fylde College, Burnley College, Joint Learning, Lancashire Adult Learning, Lancaster and Morecambe College, Myerscough College, Nelson and Colne College, Preston’s College, West Lancashire College, and VIA Partnership.
LSS will support 3,817 employees aged 19 and over who are working in small or medium sized businesses and have a workforce of up to 250 employees. It will run until July 2015 – with places allocated to businesses on a first-come, first-served basis.
The fund operates across the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area, which consists of Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen local authorities.
Businesses looking to benefit from the programme can find further information and apply through a new website www.lancashireskillssupport.co.uk or by calling Preston’s College on 01772 22 55 22.