A £5.6m programme which offers Lancashire companies access to free workforce training has helped more than 3,300 Lancashire workers gain new skills in just six months. Lancashire Skills Support (LSS), launched in September 2014, now has just over 10% of its 3,817 places remaining and businesses across the county are being urged to act fast if they don’t want to miss out on the support.
LSS has been brought together by Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and has been funded by the European Social Fund (ESF). Training has already been completed in areas including team leadership, management, accounting, marketing, sales, health and social care, customer service, engineering, manufacturing, catering and hospitality.
Amanda Melton, chair of the Lancashire Skills Board, part of the LEP, said: “The response we’ve had to Lancashire Skills Support shows that Lancashire businesses are busy growing, and that new skills and qualifications are in high demand as they look to realise these growth aspirations.
“Over the course of the programme we’ve seen some real success stories of companies winning new contracts and customers as a result of these new skills, and of workers in Lancashire growing in stature as they improve their own knowledge.”
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. It is particularly keen to attract businesses in the following growth sectors:
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. In total 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.
The programme 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 through the website www.lancashireskillssupport.co.uk.