£5.6m programme to train small businesses

Training offer: Owen McLaughlin chariman of Lancashire Skills Board

Training offer: Owen McLaughlin chariman of Lancashire Skills Board

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Thousands of businesses across Lancashire are set to benefit from free workforce training after Lancashire County Council launched a new £5.6m programme.

Lancashire Skills Support for the Workforce (LSS) aims to support 3,817 employees aged 19 and over who are working in the county’s small and medium sized businesses.

Businesses qualifying for the £5.6m scheme will receive a free training needs analysis.

Eligible employees within the business can then access free accredited training from leading providers based on their skills requirements.

Training available will include a mix of basic and higher level skills, leadership and management skills, as well as technical and industry specialist qualifications.

Whilst all small or medium enterprises are eligible to apply, the programme, which is funded by the European Social Fund and aligned to the growth ambitions of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, is particularly keen to attract businesses in the following growth sectors:

Aerospace, advanced engineering and manufacturing, energy, environment and low carbon, financial and professional services, creative and digital, leisure, tourism and visitor economy, health occupations, and scientific and technical occupations.

Owen McLaughlin, chairman of the Lancashire Skills Board and vice chairman of the Lancashire LEP, said: “The need for skilled staff is shared by all businesses regardless of their sector. This ambitious programme allows us to help the county’s businesses to address any ‘skills gaps’ that could be holding back their growth potential.

“We are committed to ensuring that Lancashire residents are fully equipped to succeed in the workplace and have the skills to help our local businesses to be profitable and competitive on a national and global scale.”

County Coun Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “We’ve already seen with Boost Business Lancashire that there is an appetite for growth among the county’s businesses. For growth to be achieved, our businesses need access to a highly-trained and motivated workforce.

“By bringing together ambitious businesses and leading training providers we can provide fantastic development opportunities for the county’s workforce.”

It will run until July 2015 and further details can be had via www.lancashireskillssupport.co.uk.