Programme to help firms identify future skills needs

Northumberland College's main campus.
Northumberland College's main campus.

Northumberland College is leading a new £4.9million programme which aims to address the skills gap through better enagement with local businesses.

Funding Solutions for Businesses will help SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to 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 (European Social Fund) contract.

The programme will support 645 SMEs in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) 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.”

Interested businesses should contact 01670 841268.