Qualified and registered childminder, Shakeela Saeed, hopes to develop a childminding business, but she has to develop the skills first. However, being able to fund training can be a challenge.
The Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) project offers fully funded training designed to help SMEs fill skill gaps, raise productivity and boost business growth. In fact, over £5.3 million is now available for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greater Manchester for training.
It is co-financed through the European Union’s European Social Fund and Skills Funding Agency and is available for SMEs seeking non-compulsory work-based training to support their business growth plan. Training is for businesses operating in Advanced Manufacturing and Materials; Business, Finance and Professional Services; Digital and Creative; Construction; Logistics; Health and Social Care and Health Innovation; Retail; Hospitality and Tourism; and Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services.
Staff development through professionally delivered training, offered at no cost to a business, can help to increase productivity, motivate and engage staff and improve employee retention. Research has found that employees that undertake non-compulsory work-related training do their jobs better and are more satisfied with their work but a lack of time and possible costs can act as barriers to accessing training. The Skills Support for the Workforce project is designed to address these challenges.
Fully funded training
As a qualified and registered childminder Shakeela has worked privately as well as for Community Revival, an English Language College in Manchester. The fully funded training delivered as part of the SSW project has helped her career plans, as Shakeela explained: “I want to develop a childminding business and to help Community Revival develop a nursery. This course will help. My confidence has definitely improved and my practical skills.
“I’m hoping to take courses in more advanced childminding and customer service to help my future plans,” added Shakeela.
Abid Satwilkar, Head of Learning at Manchester First, the local training provider, said: “What was different about this programme managed by Calderdale College was the emphasis on identifying business goals and objectives with the employer that would develop the company and the recognition that upskilling employees is key to this. The free aspect of the training made it very attractive to employers and as European funding will soon disappear, it is important for the Government to continue funding such initiatives which should not be seen as an expense to the taxpayer but rather an investment in the economy.”
Ebrahim Dockrat, Director of Calderdale College, prime contractor for the project highlighted the SSW benefits: “We offer a range of flexible, bespoke training plans designed to help your business grow. By training your staff you can improve your ability to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment, nurture a leadership team for the future and make you an employer of choice for emerging talent.
“As this training is funded with European money this is the last project of its kind,” added Mr Dockrat. “This funding is only available until July 2018 and so it’s a case of get it whilst you still can.”