Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Gloucestershire are urged to take advantage of fully funded skills training for their workforce, before the March 2019 deadline.
The training is delivered as part of a programme called Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW), which Serco’s Employment, Skills & Enterprise business is managing across Gloucestershire. Since the programme launched in September 2016, 1,457 learners from 309 businesses across Gloucestershire have taken advantage of the funded training available*. Serco has just been awarded an extension to continue delivering the programme until March 2019.
The SSW programme focuses on skills for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), as well as Low Carbon skills. The programme also supports wider training needs such as leadership and management training, team working and vocationally specific qualifications, as well as basic skills training including literacy and numeracy. The overall focus is to help support growth in the following priority areas, which have been identified as key priority sectors by Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (GFirst LEP):
For STEM-related skills:
• Knowledge Intensive Manufacturing Sector
• Knowledge Intensive Service Sector
• Health & Social Care
• Visitor Economy
For Low Carbon skills:
• Low Carbon
To deliver the programme, which is co-funded by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Serco has partnered with expert training organisations to offer local businesses recognised accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses aiming to enhance employees’ skills and increase the competitiveness of the businesses.
Businesses can select from a range of qualifications or mix and match individual units to support their work. The courses, which can take place at the employees’ workplace, range from a few hours’ training, to units of NVQ or other qualifications. Programme participants have benefited from increased employee confidence, motivation and productivity and businesses have reported improved employee loyalty and retention.
Commenting on the contract extension, Rob Matts, Serco’s Head of Skills Support for the Workforce, said: “We are delighted that the Education and Skills Funding agency are trusting Serco to continue making a positive impact to local communities in Gloucestershire. Skills Support for the Workforce is a brilliant skills training programme which small businesses in Gloucestershire can take advantage of at no cost to them. Thousands of people have benefited from this programme already and I would urge businesses to make the most of the funding available before March 2019, so that they too can benefit from this investment in vital skills training”.
Pete Carr, Lead Commissioner - Skills and Employment at GFirst LEP, said: “The funding represents a fantastic opportunity to help meet the current and future workforce skills requirements in Gloucestershire. We’re pleased with Serco’s contract extension, which will enable us to continue supporting businesses seeking the skills to reduce their carbon footprint and meet business demands. It also means that those seeking careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) will be supported effectively.”
Businesses can contact Serco on firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and to find out if they are eligible for funded training through Skills Support for the Workforce.
Serco also delivers this programme in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Dorset, Swindon & Wiltshire, South East Midlands, Coventry and Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Stoke and Staffordshire. In Devon and Somerset Serco delivers Heart of the South West Apprenticeship Service.
*Figures correct as of 30 April 2018
CDW Systems Ltd, based in Gloucester is a manufacturer and supplier of aluminium windows and doors to trade companies across the UK. During management meetings in early 2017 they identified that one of their key objectives was to upskill Managers and Supervisors to work on a succession plan for their business. CDW Systems Ltd received fully funded training from Skills Support for the Workforce through Prospect Training Services, one of Serco’s chosen training providers.
Allan Little, Production Director of CDW Systems Ltd said: “Everything was very well organised from the start and we had a mixture of on and off site training so we could upskill our key staff with minimal disruption to production.
“Two staff members have been promoted since the training to more senior positions. Attending this bespoke management course allowed them to express themselves and gave them the confidence that they could move forward in their careers. The whole group has gained a great basic understanding of leadership and the key principles that support this.
“CDW Systems Ltd is a company that is progressing and moving forward and the Serco Skills Support for the Workforce fully funded training really resonated with that.”