Northumberland College is leading a new £4.9 million ESF programme, ‘Funding Solutions for Businesses’. The programme aims to address the current skills gap by engaging more effectively with SMEs to help them assess their training and business needs. Once their needs have been identified the intention is to provide support and interventions to assist their development and growth.
Additionally, the programme is aiming to work as a catalyst for businesses and training providers to establish future training requirements and recommend qualifications and /or courses that may require development to ensure that relevant and suitable training is available to address future business needs across the North East.
The College is the lead partner working with Sunderland University, Gateshead College, Tyne Metropolitan College, Sunderland College, Sunderland University, New College Durham, Zenith People, NBSL and Red Kite, which will help deliver the ESF Contract.
The programme will support 645 local SMEs in the North East LEP's priority sectors including Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, Energy, Low Carbon and Renewables, Logistics, Forestry, Tourism and emerging industries and, alongside delivering business interventions, will place 800 graduates and students into businesses to help address skill shortages.
The project which runs to July 2018 will see engaged companies benefitting from
- A business needs analysis
- A Plan to support them in their development needs
- Student and Graduate placements for work experience and project focused activities
- Support to develop business - led training and education solutions.
Northumberland College Vice Principal, Jennie Beaumont, said: "As the lead partner, we are delighted to have been charged with delivering the LEP's vision for this contract. Across the region there is evidence and an awareness of a disconnection between education and businesses and their future training needs. Businesses want to up-skill or employ staff so the region can maximise on the LEP's skills priorities."
"The College and its partners will also be securing placements for students and graduates to work with businesses to deliver projects and assist growth. Additionally, to help employers learn from the unique higher level skills graduates possess and which businesses are often divorced from."
The programme will also increase the graduates and students employability skills, improve recruitment and hopefully create new employment opportunities.
Ms Beaumont said: "If you are a micro or a small to medium sized enterprise and feel that you would benefit from this programme please contact us on 01670 841268".
ESF Improving Labour Market relevance of Education and Training Systems - May 2017