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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