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10/12/2019
Black Country businesses to benefit from £10m skills training fund

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Black Country LEP area are urged to take advantage of a £10 million skills training fund to upskill their workforce.

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 Black Country. Under the 28-month programme which launched in April and is managed by Serco on behalf of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) the programme provides skills development that focuses on upskilling employees in key priority sectors as identified in the LEP’s strategic economic plan;

  • Retail sector
  • Public Sector
  • Business Services
  • Health and Advanced Manufacturing
  • Environmental technologies and Transport

Through SSW, eligible businesses can benefit from funded training, tailored to their specific needs. Training is flexible and businesses can select full qualifications or mix and match individual units that are directly relevant to their work. Previous SSW programme participants have benefited from increased employee confidence, motivation and productivity and improved employee loyalty and retention.

Business participants will each benefit from a bespoke Training Needs Analysis that identifies requirements for upskilling or skills gaps in their workforce. Training for participant businesses could cover subjects such as IT and digital skills, leadership and management or more vocationally relevant courses.

The SSW programme in Black Country also offers support and training for individuals at risk of redundancy or those who have been made redundant within the last three months.

To deliver the programme, which is co-financed 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.

Rob Matts, Head of Skills Support for the Workforce at Serco, said:

“I am delighted that Serco has been selected by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to manage the SSW programme in the Black Country on behalf of the LEP. We have already supported more than 20,000 learners through our SSW delivery across England with more than 7000 businesses benefitting from this important service.

I would urge businesses or, individuals that may be facing redundancy, to get in touch with our team and take advantage of the funded training on offer. We look forward to enabling many more businesses to take advantage of SSW training to upskill their staff and grow their businesses.”

Jackie Dunne Board Member, Black Country LEP said:

“This funding is great news for business, and individuals, looking to upskill or develop skills across their organisation. Raising employability through skills development is key to the Black Country LEP’s strategic plans for economic growth. We are delighted that Serco will deliver this programme to ensure that the Black Country continues to lead the way in providing tailored skills development that fits the needs of the economy.”

Businesses can contact Serco on skillssupport@serco.com or visit www.serco-ssw.com for more details and to find out if they are eligible for funded training through Skills Support for the Workforce.

> More details for businesses in the Black Country

Serco also delivers this programme in Coventry & Warwickshire, Derby & Derbyshire, Dorset, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough, Heart of the South West, Hertfordshire, Leicester & Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire, South East Midlands, Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire, Swindon & Wiltshire, West of England and Worcestershire.

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