Free skills service launched for manufacturers

Greater Manchester Skills Gateway has been launched for manufacturers in a bid to boost the economy and improve companies’ use of training to achieve growth, boost productivity and improve staff retention.

Greater Manchester is the first region to use European funding, through the European Social Funding Skills Support for the Workforce programme, to develop a new, free skills service for manufacturing businesses.

According to the Deep Dive Report, commissioned by Greater Manchester Skills and Employment Partnership, there are 3,200 manufacturing businesses within Greater Manchester, employing 51,600 people.

The Skills Gateway promises to build on the sector’s success, of both new enterprises and established companies, by giving businesses complimentary access to a pool of over 250 training providers.

Skills Gateway
Angie Took, operations manager of Skills Gateway

Angie Took, operations manager of Skills Gateway, said: “Businesses’ experience of training is mixed, with a dizzying array of providers, funding opportunities and qualifications.

“Trying to pick the ideal solution for your company can be time-consuming and confusing and, as a result, far too many organisations fail to use training effectively.

“Our service will put that right for manufacturers. It will help organisations and employees to achieve their full potential, by simplifying the process of sourcing appropriate and beneficial training.”

The innovative initiative – backed by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network (GMLPN) – identifies the providers with the most appropriate experience, services and success rates before linking them with each business.

The independent service promises to improve the reputation of training as a tool for business growth and efficiency, by placing emphasis on training and providers that deliver a tangible return on investment.

Businesses using the service will be provided with a shortlist of training providers that best match a wide range of criteria suiting their sector, needs and objectives, as well as advice on how to use training to develop their business and also access to any potential funding for training.

Louise Timperley, head of skills and employment at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, believes the launch will have a direct effect on the economic growth of manufacturers.

Louise comments: “Investment in skills drives the future growth and productivity of our local economy. Skills Gateway will encourage more businesses to access effective training and use skills development as a vital tool for expansion. As a result, it will benefit the region’s economy, helping to increase competitiveness and productivity across all sectors.”

The launch is also welcomed by training providers. Mark Currie, chair of the Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network, added: “Skills Gateway highlights best practice to demonstrate the benefits to upskilling a workforce.

“The service will act as a vital link between the training sector and the manufacturing community, helping to identify areas of most need and providing useful insight to shape learning and development within the region to better meet the requirements of businesses.”