Over £2.1 million is now available for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Tees Valley for training. The Skills Support for the Workforce project offers fully funded training to help SMEs fill skill gaps, raise productivity, and boost business growth.

Staff development through professionally delivered training, offered at no cost to a business, can help to increase productivity, motivate and engage staff, and improve employee retention.

“In addition to giving access to a wide range of training courses and qualifications, this project provides businesses with expert support to identify their existing skills gaps, and to pinpoint the skills they’ll need in future to facilitate their growth plans,” explained Andrew Lewis, Managing Director of Tees Valley Combined Authority. “Accessing support through this project can improve your ability to adapt to the evolving business environment in Tees Valley, nurture a leadership team for the future and make you an employer of choice for emerging talent.”

“By training your staff you can improve your ability to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment, nurture a leadership team for the future, and make you an employer of choice for emerging talent,” explained Ebrahim Dockrat, Director of Calderdale College, the main contractor for the project.

Research has found that employees who undertake non-compulsory work-related training do their jobs better and are more satisfied with their work, but a lack of time and possible costs can act as barriers to accessing training. The Skills Support for the Workforce project is designed to address these challenges.

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

The Tees Valley is an important location for UK manufacturing and contributes £12 billion to the national economy. Recently there has been major investment in innovative new technologies such as subsea, biologics, and energy from waste. However, the shortage of skills in the process and offshore sectors has resulted in a dependency on imported skills.

Delivered by Calderdale College, the country’s largest provider of European Social Fund funded training, through local providers, the training is for businesses operating in advanced manufacturing and engineering; digital and creative; chemical; low carbon; energy; logistics; business and professional services; culture and leisure; and health and biologics.

For more information and to see if your business is eligible for fully funded training please visit http://ssw.fundingunit.org.uk/