Skills Support for the Workforce

Skills Support for the Workforce and Swindon & Wiltshire Growth Hub collaborate to support the Health and Social Care sector

20th Apr 2022 Skills Support for the Workforce

The Skills Support for the Workforce programme (SSW), co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), helps support small and medium businesses in Swindon & Wiltshire to upskill their employees with training courses and qualifications to help their business grow and boost the local economy.

In Swindon and Wiltshire, the Swindon & Wiltshire Growth Hub sits within the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).  Their expert team of Business and Skills Advisers provide help and advice to individuals and employers so that they can access support to start, run or grow a business. This provision includes sharing resources and enabling access to funding, specialist programmes, skills training and much more.

Working collaboratively, SSW and the Growth Hub meet regularly to discuss referrals for SSW support as well as employers’ skills needs across Swindon & Wiltshire.  It was through this approach that they identified the need to deliver a joint webinar to support employers in the Health and Social Care sector with resolving their recruitment and training challenges.

With funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Growth Hub delivers a series of online webinars called ‘This Way Up’ which covers a range of topics and provides practical advice to help businesses, and this was the perfect platform to host the event.

Amanda Peach, Skills Adviser for the Growth Hub, says: “I have worked with the SSW team for many years whilst representing Higher Futures and the Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub.  Having introduced a large number of businesses to them, I have seen first-hand how they’ve benefitted. Whilst having a conversation with Lisa from SSW around the skill and staff shortages in the Health and Social Care sector, I suggested that we might be able to help raise the profile of the SSW programme via our ‘This Way Up’ webinar programme.”

Lisa Hutchings, Partnership Coordinator for SSW, together with the Growth Hub, The Mash Group and Logistica Training Limited hosted an online webinar called “Attracting and Retaining a Thriving Health and Social Care Workforce”, which focused on:

  • helping employers with recruiting and retaining employees,
  • ways on how to upskill the workforce and,
  • how funding could be accessed to support training plans.

67 participants registered onto the webinar, with 57 Health and Social Care providers from Swindon & Wiltshire. Others were from Gloucester, London, Dorset, Kent, Surrey, and Warwickshire.

Participants who attended on the day highlighted that the webinar was “very informative”, “good pace with a diversity of speakers”, “the information that came was really great as we were not aware of most of what was discussed” and “clear and well organised”.

Paula Harsley, Webinar Co-ordinator for the Swindon & Wiltshire Growth Hub, states: “Working with Lisa from SSW on creating this webinar was great.  She was able to invite James from the Mash Group and Diane from Logistica Training to be involved and we met to run through the platform that we use.  The webinar was informative and interactive with attendees from across the country attending digitally who gave some fantastic feedback.  It was a great way to support organisations that are really up against it at the present time and show the fantastic partnership that the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and Amanda in particular, has built up with the SSW team in delivering the SSW programme.”

Working together, the collaborative support provided by Swindon & Wiltshire Growth Hub and SSW has enabled employers in the Health and Care Sector to access fully funded training that addresses the skills gaps within their workforce. 

As demonstrated by Cura Homecare, the investment in staff training supported an employee to not only gain accredited Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications, but has also boosted morale and confidence, enabling them to cascade new knowledge and practices to other colleagues, as well as supporting the employee’s aim to grow within her role.  Read more about how Cura Homecare supported their workforce here.

Lisa Hutchings, Partnership Coordinator for SSW, says: “Thanks to the collaborative spirit of the Growth Hub, the Mash Group and Logistica Training, the webinar was a great success. With the webinar now available on-demand, we hope that employers will share this free resource so that it will inspire and help other employers in this sector with their recruitment and training needs.”

Click here to watch the Attracting and Retaining a Thriving Health & Social Care Workforce webinar.

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