West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

5 February 2015

£17.5m pioneering skills service for Leeds City Region

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has scooped further devolved funding through the government’s Employer Ownership Pilot to create a £17.5 million skills service for local businesses. The LEP is working with a consortium to deliver the LEP skillsservice, led by Calderdale College in partnership with Leeds City College, West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry on behalf of WYCC.

The aim of the funding is to put money in the hands of small and medium sized businesses in the LEP’s key sectors, enabling them to source the skills solutions they require to develop and grow. This announcement follows the recent allocation of an additional £54.6 million for the Leeds City Region from the government’s Local Growth Deals to invest in skills, business support, innovation and housing and regeneration.

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership said:

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.”

LEP Board member Mark Ridgway OBE DL, led the successful bid in his capacity as Managing Director of Joseph Rhodes Ltd and will go on to Chair the management board for the skills service.

Mark Ridgway OBE DL, LEP Board member said:

“This is yet another fantastic result for the region. The LEP‘s skills service will allow SMEs to develop the skills and talent required to help their business grow.”

“It is vital that the government and the LEP listen to the needs of businesses, to target skills training to the areas of growth in the region.  Enabling the LEP to work in partnership with businesses, we can ensure that collectively we are investing in the workforce of the future.”

Joanne Roney, Chief Executive of Wakefield Council and LEP Chief Executive Lead on Employment and Skills said

“Addressing the skills deficit across the Leeds City Region has been a priority for the LEP for many years. Preparing our people with the higher level skills needed in the emerging economy is imperative if we are to remain competitive in a global labour market/ marketplace.”

Peter McCann, Chair of Leeds City Region Skills Network added:

“Unlocking the skills potential of the Leeds City Region forms a central pillar in the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan. The skills service offers excellent opportunities for us to continue to work closely with the LEP in ensuring skills provision is employer-focussed.  The funding has been secured as a result of the strong partnership between the LEP and local Colleges, Universities and Training Providers, who share the ambition to see strong and sustainable business growth, and highlights the role Colleges, Universities and Providers have in achieving this objective.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“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.  That’s why 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 said:

“Supporting small businesses and the jobs they create is part of building the northern powerhouse. The new Leeds City Region skills fund is good news for small businesses.  By investing in the skills of local people we will create new jobs in the City Region 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 LEP will establish this new skills service to finance employers’ skills requirements and ensure SMEs are fully equipped with the resources needed to develop a skilled workforce. Businesses will have support to source the most appropriate training and providers to suit their skills needs and help identify what funding opportunities are available to support business investment. Guidance will be available to support employers through what can sometimes be a complex market for sourcing new and existing provision.

The skills service is now available for businesses to gain support and the LEP is working with a consortium to deliver the service, led by Calderdale College in partnership with Leeds City College, West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

For more information please visit www.the-lep.com/skillsservice or call 0113 3861861 to speak to one of the LEP’s skills advisers.