West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

18 September 2019

Harrogate company makes training go further

An award winning Harrogate business has taken advantage of The Skills Service to boost its workforce training.

Network Scientific is a small business in Harrogate and welcomed the support that enabled the company to find the most suitable training and help the training budget go further. The team’s enhanced skills are already making an impact, coupled with an increase in motivation and confidence, the business’s overall performance is on the up.

Managing Director Zara Jackson explains how The Skills Service has been an invaluable support to her business that specialises in recruitment for the science industry.

“I heard about The Skills Service from a variety of sources, all of whom knew about my ambitions to develop my team, grow the business and reach my next big turnover target.

“I got in touch with Sharlotte, one of the skills advisors, who came to meet me. We talked through my plans for the business, the potential I had within the team, previous training and ideas for future training. This was a really useful way to lay out the possibilities for my business, and with access to the European funding, it became clear that this year I could make my training budget go further than ever before.

“I set up the business in 2010 and started trading in 2011; just me. But I had ambitions to grow, and I’m proud to have recruited my twelfth member of staff in recent months."

Preparing for uncertainty

“We’re a specialist recruitment agency, and with Brexit just around the corner, I wanted to make sure my team was resilient to develop the business during tough times. However, with change comes opportunity, and so I also wanted to develop future leaders to be able to make decisions about the business as we evolve. I don’t want it to be just me ‘leading the ship’. I wanted the team to have a vested interest in making this company thrive. If the team understand the business as it is now, and have the skills to make measured, key decisions in the future, then we would be a stronger company in years to come.”

With the support of The Skills Service, Zara and her team signed up for a variety of training programmes including some specialist training that was sourced separately to the courses listed in the Skills Catalogue.

Instant impact

The company is half way through its training and Zara is already seeing an impact on the team’s working style and the business’s performance.

“In the past I would hear comments like ‘We can’t recruit to this post’ or ‘We haven’t recruited to that post’. Now there’s a key difference, I hear ‘we haven’t recruited to that post… yet’. The team have new skills and the confidence to achieve our business goals. For example, the training explored and analysed personality types. Now the team have a clear awareness of their own personalities and working styles, and they can identify personality traits in others, including clients and candidates, and this can have massive significance in succeeding in this industry.

“The drip feed of training is keeping the team motivated and organised. We have spread out the sessions so that the training is not forgotten, and the learning can really embed itself in the way we all work. As a result I am seeing continued increase in performance, not just a one–off peak.

“The Skills Service is invaluable to small businesses like us. A business is only as valuable as its employees, so investing in their skills means they stay motivated, interested in the business and as ambitious as the business. It’s simple if you don’t train your staff you won’t keep them!"

Employer of the year!

“The investment we’ve made in our workforce has been recognised with our recent win at the Harrogate Advertiser Business awards for ‘Employer of the Year’. This has helped to create a positive reputation for us as an employer and helped to recruit two new members of staff who approached us for opportunities. The wide scope of our training programme was made possible by The Skills Service, and demonstrates that this support can have a longer term impact and fringe benefits other than just the immediate training of current staff.”

What is The Skills Service?

The Skills Service works with over 50 training providers and lists over 1,000 training courses in its Skills Catalogue. SMEs in the Leeds City Region (Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York) are eligible to 40% funding towards training their workforce through The Skills Service.


Search our Skills Catalogue for some inspiration, or make an enquiry or give our Skills Advisors a call to book a free skills plan on 0113 235 4460.

The Skills Service project is receiving up to £7 million of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.


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