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Businesses in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire to benefit from skills training fund

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire are urged to take advantage of a skills training fund to upskill their workforce.

The training is delivered as part of the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) programme, which Serco’s Employment, Skills & Enterprise business is managing across the South East Midlands (SEMLEP) and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnerships. Under the 28-month programme which launched in April, Serco will work in partnership with the partnerships to provide skills development that focuses on upskilling employees in key priority sectors as identified in their strategic economic plans.

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.

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.

Paul Thompson, SEMLEP’s Employer and Skills Manager, said:  “This programme is a direct result of the call from businesses with a need to up-skill and re-skill the workforce. With the huge growth in businesses in the area, the programme aims to help employers, especially the growing businesses, retain and develop key team members especially with the rapid pace of the introduction of digital and automated technologies.”

Norman Jennings, Operations Director at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “Skills development is a cornerstone of local economic growth and productivity, and in an increasingly competitive world, it is vital that Hertfordshire businesses have access to a skilled workforce to help drive future growth. We are delighted that our targeted funding will help meet local business needs and we encourage all SMEs to explore how they could benefit from the SSW programme.”

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