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SMEs urged to take advantage of funded training

29 June 2018

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are being urged to take advantage of fully funded skills training for their workforce, available at Gloucestershire College, before the March 2019 deadline.

The training is delivered as part of a programme called Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW), which Serco’s Employment, Skills and Enterprise business is managing across the county.

Since the programme launched in September 2016, 1,457 learners from 309 businesses across Gloucestershire have taken advantage of the funded training available. An extension has recently been granted, enabling Gloucestershire College to continue delivering the programme until March 2019, which is great news for county businesses.

In addition to STEM and Low Carbon skills, the programme supports training needs such as leadership and management, team working and vocationally specific qualifications, as well as basic skills training, including literacy and numeracy. 

Just some of the courses available at GC’s Gloucester and Cheltenham Campuses until December include marketing workshops B2B Marketing, Sales Management, LinkedIn Masterclass and Marketing on Social Media; operational skills workshops IOSH Managing Safely, Paediatric First Aid and Positive Intervention Training; leadership and development workshops Team Leading, Coaching and Mentoring, Conflict Management and Mental Toughness and Resilience; and Steps to Setting Up Your Own Business. 

The programme is co-funded by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and includes recognised accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses aiming to enhance employees’ skills and increase the competitiveness of the businesses.

Participants so far have benefited from increased employee confidence, motivation and productivity, and businesses have reported improved employee loyalty and retention. 

Andy Bates, Chief Financial Officer, said: “We’re pleased the extension has been granted, allowing Gloucestershire College to continue delivering fully funded skills training to county businesses until March. The courses we offer help support growth in key sectors identified by GFirst LEP, including retail, creative and more.

“I would encourage any local business looking to upskill their workforce and grow to make the most of our range of short training courses, which are delivered by industry experts and available at both Cheltenham and Gloucester campuses.”

Commenting on the contract extension, Rob Matts, Serco’s Head of Skills Support for the Workforce, said: “We are delighted that the Education and Skills Funding agency are trusting Serco to continue making a positive impact to local communities in Gloucestershire. Skills Support for the Workforce is a brilliant skills training programme which small businesses in Gloucestershire can take advantage of at no cost to them. Thousands of people have benefited from this programme already and I would urge businesses to make the most of the funding available before March 2019, so that they too can benefit from this investment in vital skills training”.  

Pete Carr, Lead Commissioner - Skills and Employment at GFirst LEP, added: “The funding represents a fantastic opportunity to help meet the current and future workforce skills requirements in Gloucestershire. We’re pleased with Serco’s contract extension, which will enable us to continue supporting businesses seeking the skills to reduce their carbon footprint and meet business demands. It also means that those seeking careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) will be supported effectively.”

For the full list of courses available, and to book, visit or call the GC Business Hub on 01452 563400.

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