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Lancashire businesses urged to take advantage of free skills support

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Businesses in Lancashire are being urged to act quickly if they want to secure free workforce training as part of the £5.6m Lancashire Skills Support (LSS) programme. It comes as new figures reveal that almost half of the places on the programme have already been filled, just four months after it launched in September 2014.

1,730 employees from 335 businesses across the county are already benefiting from new training and qualifications, representing 45% of the 3,817 places available. Training has been completed in areas including team leadership, management, accounting, marketing, sales, health and social care, customer service, engineering, manufacturing, catering and hospitality.

Amanda Melton, deputy chair of the Lancashire Skills Board, said: "Lancashire Skills Support is one of the most important business support programmes we have had in the county. The level of enquiries and the speed at which we have been able to fund this training has been phenomenal. "It’s clear that increasing skills and knowledge will be a major factor in growing our county’s businesses and our economy.

I would encourage any growing business that has skills gaps that it needs to address to take advantage of this support before it’s too late.” Businesses qualifying for LSS receive a free training needs analysis with eligible employees, followed by free accredited training from leading providers based on their skills requirements.

Training available through the scheme includes a mix of basic and higher level skills, leadership and management skills, as well as technical and industry specialist qualifications. While all small or medium enterprises are eligible to apply, the programme is aligned to the growth ambitions of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP). It is particularly keen to attract businesses in the following growth sectors:

  • Aerospace
  • 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

The LSS delivery partnership currently includes Accrington and Rossendale College, Age UK Lancashire, Blackburn College, Blackpool and the Fylde College, Burnley College, Joint Learning, Kaplan Financial, Lancashire Adult Learning, Lancaster and Morecambe College, Myerscough College, Nelson and Colne College, Preston's College, Runshaw 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.

LSS will run until July 2015 – with places allocated to businesses on a first-come, first-served basis. LSS has been brought together by Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The programme, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), operates across the 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 by calling 0800 488 0057 or online at www.lancashireskillssupport.co.uk.

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