LEP Column: Investing in people key to building the skills businesses need to grow

Skipton Castle.
Skipton Castle.
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At this time of year the schools are about to reopen, colleges are gearing up for a new intake and university students are acquiring their reading lists. Over at the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) one of our main priorities is skills and making sure local people get the skills they need.

You might think that it’s a bit strange to be talking about education on the business pages, but the two go hand in hand. It wasn’t long ago that the CBI highlighted the growing number of employers who are struggling to fill skilled jobs.

At the LEP that’s central to what we’re trying to achieve, providing employers with the people they need to run successful businesses alongside providing local people with the skills they need to have fulfilling and successful careers.

We want businesses to be able to find ambitious people with the right skills and attitude. So, to support that ambition we’ve run two programmes which both look at supporting those who are in work to get the skills they need to do more.

The two schemes are: Skills Support for the Workforce and the Local Response Fund, which ran until 31 July this year. They were pulled together with learning providers and businesses so that our local people had the opportunity to get the skills needed in the modern day workplace in our area across York, North Yorkshire and the East Riding.

In total these programmes have trained over 3,700 learners across our patch and the courses are led by the demands of local businesses. So there have been courses focused on our key sectors, such as agricultural technology, tourism, health care, construction and engineering and more. The courses took place all over our area.

In July we held the Inspired People Awards, where we had five awards in total, showcasing our learners’ achievements and what impact it has on both their employment and their employer.

Elaine Pamplin was one of our winners and she works at Magdalen Park, a nursing home in Hedon in East Yorkshire.

Elaine felt that she would struggle with an academic course, although her employer was keen for her to complete a Level 3 course called “Greater understanding of dementia.” Having been sceptical in her abilities Elaine enrolled, but was still reluctant and didn’t want to hand in assignments at first.

But Elaine had nothing to fear, her work was assessed as “outstanding” and this then motivated her to take on further training all of which supports her day-to-day work at the nursing home. And of course, this is positive for both Elaine and her employer.

With Elaine gaining new skills and qualifications as well as confidence and her employer has a motivated member of staff who has the latest knowledge on subjects which are key to her work and the success of the business.

Another winner was Calvin Dow landlord at Castle Inn in Skipton.

Calvin got in touch with one of our training providers – Tyro Training – and asked them to provide some bespoke training on customer service, called world-class customer service, for his staff at the pub.

Calvin’s commitment to training is plain to see and not only does it mean that he has a motivated team, but the Castle Inn has won a number of awards, including Best Pub in Yorkshire, Best Bar Team and Best Newcomer.

These awards, alongside Calvin’s approach to staff training, demonstrates that people are the most valuable asset any business has.

And because of that, at the LEP we are investing in people, through the programmes I’ve outlined as well as a whole host of other activities, from working with schools on career guidance to providing support to the most disadvantaged groups across York, North Yorkshire and the East Riding who experience significant barriers to work.

We all have a role to play, either by getting the qualifications we need in order to succeed in our careers, or as employers, thinking about how we can make the most of the people we have, by providing them with the skills they need.

The CBI sees this as a challenge, and so do I, but it’s a challenge I feel we’re making real headway with at the LEP.

LEP supports thousands

Through Skills Support for the Workforce 2,215 learners completed courses

Through the Local Response Fund 1,500 learners were supported

The LEP has secured £4.6m in Local Growth funding to support three skills capital programmes

The LEP is investing £7.67m into the Big Lottery’s Building Better Opportunities programme, to support those furthest from the labour market to making strides towards getting work

For more info visit: www.businessinspiredgrowth.com