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Businesses are being urged to join a major programme of training to equip the Humber's workforce with the skills to maximise the region's economic opportunities. The Skills Support for the Workforce programme will provide bespoke training to boost the skills of workers in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) up to July 2015. Up to 3,000 workers are expected to benefit from relevant training under the initiative, led by Hull College Group and delivered in partnership with other colleges and specialist training providers.


Hull College Group has secured a £3.5 million contract, funded by the European Social Fund, to increase skills levels and the capacity of SMEs in sectors identified as key to the Humber economy now and in the future by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The priority sectors are chemicals; ports and logistics; food and agriculture; renewables; construction; engineering and manufacturing; creative digital; tourism; and health and social care.

The programme is already under way and was promoted to an audience of employers at Hull's Guildhall on December 12, 2013, with a further event at the CATCH training facility in Stallingborough, North East Lincolnshire, on December 16.

Hull College Principal Graham Towse said the programme was a 'truly collaborative partnership' involving Bishop Burton College, East Riding College, Grimsby Institute, North Lindsey College and a number of specialist training providers.

He said the chance for businesses to boost the skills of their workforce came at a time of major opportunity for the region, with huge investments being made in renewable energy and a fast-growing digital sector, adding to the strength of well-established industries, such as manufacturing, chemicals, food and health and social care.

'The Humber is on the cusp of an industrial revolution and skills are our absolute top priority,' he said. 'This programme is about supporting the long-term growth and sustainability of the region's economy and its businesses.'
Project Manager Vicki Isaac said the training was totally free to businesses with fewer than 250 employees in the key sectors and would be tailored to the specific needs of eligible companies. Any employee aged over 19 can benefit from the training.

The programme is also being supported and promoted by Humber Chemical Focus, Renewables Network, Bishop Burton College and the Humber Education Business Partnership who are acting as sector leads. These organisations will also provide feedback on how companies have been helped, to build a picture of the skills support needs of SMEs within the region's key sectors.

Mike Parker, Chair of the Humber LEP Employment and Skills Board, said: 'We urge SMEs to take advantage of this offer to work with colleges and sector leads from across the Humber.

'Not only will businesses be able to access bespoke training packages to help their businesses to grow, the partnership can collect useful information to see if there are common themes we could use to help SMEs in the future. Through great partnership work we could see hundreds of SMEs closer to reaching their potential.'

Lynn Benton, Employment and Skills Manager for the Humber LEP, said: 'To develop a vibrant economy we need to have a skills system that supports growth. This programme will improve the supply of skills and also identify skills gaps that we need to fill. It offers totally flexible, bespoke training that really meets the needs of employers.'

Employers who want to take advantage of free training under the Skills Support for the Workforce programme can contact National Safety Training Services, if the courses delivered by them is the type of training you are looking for or if you would like information on other types of funded training supported by the fund in Hull and the Humber then please get in touch with Hull college SSW team on 01482 598731 or e-mail SSW@hull-college.ac.uk

Further information about the programme can be found at www.hull-college.ac.uk/employers/SSW

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Hull College has secured a contract for £3.5 million to deliver the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) and Local Response Fund (LRF). The project is funded by the European Social Fund ESF. The focus for the funding will be to deliver workplace learning courses across the Humber region to meet individual, employer and regional needs by up skilling the workforce.

The project will be delivered in partnership with Bishop Burton College, East Riding College, Grimsby Institute, North Lindsey College and a number of specialist providers to engage with learners and key employment sectors as identified by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The contract started in July 2013 and will run until July 2015. The programme is aimed at supporting employed individuals aged 19 and over in a small medium enterprise (SME). It will enhance their skills and career prospects to reduce the risk of long term unemployment and welfare dependency while boosting the local economy.

To ensure the greatest impact to local businesses and the economy, the programme will target key growth sectors in the region as defined by the Humber LEP including
Chemicals, Steel, Food Processing, Engineering, Manufacturing and Healthcare. Support will also be prioritised for key local employment growth sectors including Construction, Transport, Business Services, Health, Hotels and Catering, Retail, Financial and Business Services, Gas, Electricity and water, Paper and Publishing.

Lord Haskins, Chair of Humber Local Enterprise Partnership said: “This Skills Support for the Workforce is aimed at SMEs which play a vital role in the Humber economy and it is important that the Humber LEP supports them to grow. SMEs need to take advantage of this £3.5 million funding to up-skill their staff and I encourage all employers to make contact with their local provider about their training needs, since this is a real opportunity for their employees to gain new skills and qualifications.”

80% of all employers in the Humber area are SMEs and one of the aims of the Humber LEP is to increase the number of employers who train their staff.

The Renewable Energy sector and other developments offer companies in the Humber region unprecedented opportunities to expand and grow. It is estimated that over the next 5 years up to 22,000 jobs will be created in the region. The up-skilling of the workforce is vital in enabling existing companies to take advantage of the new opportunities that the renewable industry and its supply chain offers. The allocation of £3.5 million for Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) will enable companies across the region to develop their staff for the short and long term needs of their companies and will contribute to making a real difference within their productivity.

The Humber Skills Support for the Workforce funded project is delivered in in partnership with the Hull College Group as prime contractor and the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Other colleges working in partnership are North Lindsey College, Grimsby Institute, Bishop Burton College, East Riding College along with private providers to meet the needs of the regional training priorities.

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