3,000 SMEs benefit from skills boost through £9m LEP service

Susan Hinchcliffe, Skills lead for the LEP and leader of Bradford City Council, said additional funding was expected later in the year.
Susan Hinchcliffe, Skills lead for the LEP and leader of Bradford City Council, said additional funding was expected later in the year.

Almost 7,500 people across Leeds City Region have benefited from a programme to upskill staff and support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to grow.

The LEP’s skills service has provided support and funding to more than 3,000 businesses to enable them to develop the skills of their employees.

In the first phase of this initiative almost £9m has been invested to ensure that staff have the skills that businesses need to grow. Funding of almost £4m has been invested by the LEP, which has been matched by a £5m financial contribution from employers.

Roger Marsh OBE, chairman of the LEP, said: “I’m immensely pleased with all that’s been achieved in the first phase of this ambitious programme.

“To hear how businesses of all types have benefitted, from manufacturers to creative agencies, highlights not only the diverse business landscape of the region but also how much appetite there is from companies to invest in the skills of their staff.”

Businesses across the region have also used the support from the LEP skills service to improve their exporting capability, which is a strategic priority for the LEP.

The LEP skills service supports businesses across the Leeds City Region to identify appropriate training, find training provision and align staff development with overall business plans.

Susan Hinchcliffe, Skills lead for the LEP, said: “I’m delighted that almost 7,500 employees across the region have had the opportunity to develop their skills.

“Improving skills is high on our agenda so we need to build on this success.

“We expect additional funding for skills to become available later this year. I would urge businesses to get in touch with the team of skills advisers sooner rather than later to ensure they are best placed to apply.”

In the year to March 2017, exports in Yorkshire and the Humber increased by 7.6 per cent.

To find out more contact the LEP skills service on skills@the-lep.com, 0113 386 1910 or visit www.the-lep.com/skillsservice for more details.