BUSINESSES and their employers in Craven will be able to take advantage of free skills training until 2023 thanks to additional £1.2 million funding for the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) programme.

Since April 2019, SSW has helped about 900 employees and 300 businesses in the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding region to successfully fill skills gaps to achieve their business goals, including increasing sales revenue and boosting staff morale to reduce absenteeism. The extra funding also comes at a crucial time for businesses in the region, who may require additional support following the impact of Covid-19.

The SSW programme was developed to upskill employees in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-businesses.

The training will be delivered by Calderdale College in partnership with York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (YNY LEP), through specialist, local and regional training providers.

In addition to workplace training, SSW offers a range of online training and qualifications to provide maximum flexibility for businesses and employees during normal business operations, supporting employees on furlough and employees at risk of redundancy or recently made redundant.

Helen Howland, head of the Skills Support for the Workforce programme in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding, said: “Over the last few months, a large number of businesses in the region have found themselves in an uncertain position, as they have had to pause their operations or have seen a reduction in sales interest. However, the Skills Support for the Workforce programme provides these businesses with an opportunity to face their future with confidence.”

She added: “The programme’s flexibility is its greatest strength, as it allows us to work with businesses to identify their specific challenges, creating a free, personalised training plan that will allow them to rebuild, recover and grow. This funding is vital for not only filling the existing skills gaps within the region, but also helping businesses that have suffered as a result of Covid-19, including those going through restructuring.”

The SSW programme is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) - an EU established fund to help local areas stimulate economic development through skills and job creation.

For more information and to see if your business is eligible for fully funded training, please visit: