The Government announced £17.5m for businesses to improve skills in the Leeds City Region.
The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) secured funding from the Government’s Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot (EOP). The funding will be awarded to SMEs in the Leeds City Region to invest in the skills of their workforces, enabling them to develop and grow their business and is supported by more than £20m in employer contributions.
The programme has been developed to help small businesses source the skills solutions they really need. The scheme will provide training, skills assessments, impartial specialist advice and help small businesses to take on apprentices.
The programme also aims to address skills shortages in key sectors in Leeds that offer the greatest opportunities for economic and employment growth, such as manufacturing, construction, digital, hospitality and medical technology. Grants and support of £500 – £50,000 will be available to businesses in the region.
Business Secretary Vince Cable commented on the announcement: “From medicine to manufacturing, the Leeds City Region boasts a diverse business community across high value sectors so it’s essential they get the support they need to grow. The Government is providing SME’s across the region with funds to support bespoke training programmes and the means to take on apprentices so they can develop their workforce with their business needs in mind.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who was in the north announcing other investment schemes, added: “Supporting small businesses and the jobs they create is part of building the northern powerhouse. The new skills fund is good news for small businesses. By investing in the skills of local people we will create new jobs and help small firms thrive.
“Our investment will help deliver training to 17,000 people and enable thousands more employers to hire new apprentices. By backing small business and creating new jobs, we can ensure Britain stays on track for prosperity.”
The bid was led by Mark Ridgway OBE, LEP board member and managing director of Joseph Rhodes Ltd, an advanced manufacturing company, based in Wakefield on behalf of employers in the Leeds City Region.
As a result of this funding, the LEP along with its delivery partners will support 3,000 businesses with a skills service, 2,500 businesses with skills assessments and advice, 1,000 businesses to take on apprentices and get17,100 individuals into training.
Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership expounded on the benefits of the scheme: “I am delighted that the LEP has succeeded once again in securing vital funding for our region. This is a step change in addressing the skills needs in the City Region and will help improve business competitiveness across our diverse growth sectors.
“This funding commitment confirms the trust government places in our City Region; recognising our achievements of creating more and better jobs for our residents and acknowledging our ambition to work collaboratively with employers to drive the skills agenda.”