Skills Support for the Workforce is benefiting SME’s across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Skills Support for the Workforce, and ERDF funded project is helping small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly thanks to a £4.6m investment in training.

The programme which launched in September 2016, offers both individuals and local businesses a range of fully-funded accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses. Since the programme launch more than 2100 individual learners and 1000 SME businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have taken advantage of the free training available. Business can access training for their employees which helps them to meet their growth aspirations. Participants can select full qualifications or mix and match individual units that are directly relevant to their career aspirations.

The SSW programme is managed by Serco and co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Serco have partnered with a range of expert local training providers to deliver the programme across the region.

One business to have benefitted from SSW is Blue Flame, one of the largest independent service, maintenance and installation heating companies in Cornwall. Working with Cornwall College over the last 12 months they have undertaken a training needs analysis of their office support staff, who provide a vital function for the business. Cornwall College is one of Serco’s network of expert organisations chosen to deliver the SSW programme.

So far, Cornwall College have supported 10 employees in a range of subjects, including Leadership and Management, Excel, Search Engine Optimisation and Managing Performance.

Paul Smith, Blue Flame’s Training Director, said: “For 30 years training has played an integral part in our business success. We view training as vital for the continued success of our team, which directly boosts the business as a whole. This training was specifically aimed at the management support team to help them increase their knowledge to be able to support both their teams and liaise with senior management in driving the business forward. As a result the training has helped us to drive increased productivity, manage logistical planning and resource issues, manage supply and demand and drive better profits.”

Another business feeling the positive impact of training investment is the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group working with Serco’s partner Newquay for Excellence Training (NfET). The SSW funding allowed their Customer Service Manager, Chris, to undertake the City and Guilds Leadership and Supervision qualification. Chris is delighted to have been able to receive the training and it has developed his management style.

Chris said “Doing the course has helped me get a new job as a manager, it showed that I was willing to invest in
the learning. Since undertaking the training I have demonstrated the knowledge and skills needed to become an
effective manager. The training has given me the confidence to know that some of my management styles are
correct and has cemented my understanding of the theories behind certain approaches to supervision. The
coaching of my team is an element that I have taken from the course and am practically using on a daily basis. I
am now looking forward to continuing my learning with NfET.”

Businesses can 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.