05 April 2018

Small and medium sized enterprises across Devon and Somerset are being urged to take advantage of fully funded skills training for their workforce before the deadline to utilise the funds in July 2018.

The training is available as part of a programme named Heart of the South West Apprenticeship Service which Serco’s Employment, Skills & Enterprise business manages across Devon and Somerset – working in partnership with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The programme, which runs to July 2018 and is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Skills Funding Agency, aims to support growth across all sectors of the region’s economy by providing businesses, entirely free of charge, with:

  • Recognised accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses aimed at enhancing employees’ skills and helping them to progress into Apprenticeships. These will be delivered through a network of expert local training providers.
  • Support to enable employers to take advantage of Apprenticeship opportunities that work for each business.

Since the programme launch in September 2016, 963 learners from 388 businesses in Devon and Somerset have taken advantage of the free training available. Businesses can select full qualifications or mix and match individual units that are directly relevant to their work. These can include technical skills training and higher level skills such as leadership and management. Previous programme participants have benefited from increased employee confidence, motivation and productivity and improved employee loyalty and retention.

As part of the programme employers can also benefit from a support, advice and brokerage service that will help them to:

  • Decide which Apprenticeships are right for existing employees
  • Find a local Apprenticeship provider
  • Find out what Government Funding is available
  • Understand the implications of the Apprenticeship Levy to the business
  • Solve recruitment challenges by explaining the services available on recruiting new apprentices

Gareth Moss, Serco’s Director for Employment, Skills and Enterprise, said: “It’s great that so many businesses have taken up the opportunity to gain competitive advantage through workforce development. I would urge Devon and Somerset businesses to make the most of the funding available before July so that they too can benefit from this investment in vital skills training”.

Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley CBE DL said: “The LEP aims to help businesses grow and to generate rewarding careers for employees in the Heart of the South West area, and this fully-funded skills training does both.

“I hope many more employers will take advantage of the support on offer to help them up-skill their workforce and improve their productivity.”

Businesses can learn more about Serco’s Heart of the South West Apprenticeship Service HERE

More details for employers HERE

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