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Cheshire businesses urged to sign up for free training for their staff

£4m fund available to help boost business growth - but time is running out

Two Apprentices Working With engineer On CNC Machinery(Image: monkeybusinessimages)

Businesses in Cheshire and Warrington are being urged to take advantage of free training being offered to small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to help upskill staff, raise productivity and boost business growth.

A fund of £4 million has been made available for businesses in the region through the Skills Support for the Workforce project, but businesses only have until spring next year to apply.

The scheme, which is funded by the European Social Fund, launched last year to give SMEs the chance for their staff to gain professional training across a range of skills and sectors.

There are around 795,200 people of working age living in Cheshire and Warrington, an area which offers particularly strong industry knowledge and skills in engineering, energy and business services sectors.

However, over the next ten years demand for skills in Cheshire and Warrington is forecast to rise significantly, driven by economic growth, the delivery of major projects and replacement demand.

External funding director of Calderdale College, Ebrahim Dockrat, the prime contractor responsible for delivering for the project, said: “Based on the region’s specific skills gaps, we have developed a range of flexible and bespoke training plans, designed to help SMEs in Cheshire and Warrington grow their business.

“Not only can training help increase productivity and the services that businesses can offer, it also motivates and engages the workforce and, as a result, improves employee retention.”

Research has found that employees that undertake non-compulsory, work-related training do their jobs better and are more satisfied with their work.

However, a lack of time and potential costs act as a barrier to accessing training.

The Skills Support for the Workforce project is designed to tackle these challenges.

Delivered by Calderdale College - the country’s largest provider of European Social Fund funded training - through local providers, the training is for businesses based in the Local Enterprise Partnership area, employing fewer than 250 people with an annual turnover of less than £50 million.

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

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