Skills support for the workforce

February 11, 2015 9:08 am

Skills support for the workforce

Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) is a multi-million pound scheme benefitting small and medium sized enterprises (SME) with less than 250 employees, offering job-specific courses to firms in areas covered by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

A £7 million funding contract has been allocated to help develop the skills of employees of SMEs in the area. Vision West Nottinghamshire College has lead and coordinated a consortia of providers capable of delivering across the D2N2 area, to meet the needs of local employers.

The project, which will run until July 2015, is fully-funded by the European Social Fund and the Skills Funding Agency, which means training is free to businesses that are eligible for support.

The college is working to deliver a co-ordinated approach to employer-related training in a variety of LEP identified priority sectors across the whole D2N2 area.

The LEP has set out priority sectors for businesses eligible for the project which include biosciences, engineering and advanced manufacturing, hospitality and catering, retail and wholesaling, business and financial services, health and social care, transport, logistics and warehousing, tourism, digital media, construction, metal sectors and education.

SMEs who fall under these sectors will also need to:

  • be based in Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire
  • have no more than 250 employees.

Employees must be aged 19 or over and work a minimum of eight contracted hours per week.

Training is tailored towards staff with low or basic skills, but the project can deliver intermediate and higher-level courses where there is an identified need, and programmes up to Level 4 are available for firms with less than 50 employees. Courses are tailored to each business, range in length and are based around priority sectors as highlighted by the LEP.

Courses are undertaken in the workplace to reduce time spent off-the-job. The contract is also structured to support opportunities for employees to progress onto apprenticeships or higher level training.

SSW offers many benefits to employers and employees, as well as the local economy and local communities.

Benefits for the employer:

  • Plug your skills gaps at no extra cost Increase staff retention and loyalty
  • Enhance productivity and effectiveness

Benefits for the employee:

  • Learn new skills
  • Enhance career prospects
  • Progress to higher-level training/courses and apprenticeships
  • No fees to pay

Bridgebank Civil Engineering


Bridgebank, a medium-sized civil engineering company based in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, specialise in construction of roads and sewers, and supply and fix ground works both in the housing and commercial sectors. The contractors that Bridgebank work alongside require all employees to be CSCS and CPCS compliant before being allowed to bid for and undertake work on their projects.

The funding provided by SSW has benefited the company in allowing them to source training for the workforce. This training has allowed staff to become fully CSCS and CPCS compliant meaning that they are in a position to bid for more work and grow their business.

Skills Support for the Workforce has already supported over 2,500 employees from more than 700 local employers –allowing them to access free, flexible provision in their workplace to improve skills and help local businesses grow. If you are an SME based in Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire and are interested in accessing workplace training for your employees contact Mandy Gooding on 07815 492117 or by email



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