West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

10 August 2021

Educators join forces to offer businesses help with skills

Seven West Yorkshire colleges, Go Higher West Yorkshire and the Textile Centre of Excellence have come together to give businesses a simple way to access funded training and advice.

As part of the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges’ Let’s Talk Real Skills project, the colleges and educators are offering SMEs in the Leeds City Region a free ‘Skills Plan’ service.

A Skills Plan can help businesses to establish their training needs and access funding or support that can help them achieve their ambitions. Skills Plan sessions are short, one-to-one meetings with an impartial skills associate or advisor from one of the training providers.

The new online enquiry service provides a simple gateway to book a session with one of the region’s leading training providers and allows businesses to access the training they need.

Many businesses have already benefited from a Skills Plan and have made crucial relationships with contacts who have helped make the most of their training budgets.

Louise O’Brien is Managing Director at Greyhound Box, a packaging manufacturing company in Leeds. She said, “I’ve been working with WYCC for a while now and Bryony has kept me up to date on opportunities for funding. We’ve taken advantage of the 40% funding available, including a Level 5 Leadership and Management Course with Leeds Beckett University for one of our managers.

“We have also recently booked in Sales training and Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply qualifications for the buying team here at Greyhound Box. Louise O'Brien

“We know that training can change the direction of a business and help it become scalable. Training helps our staff feel more involved in the business decisions and it symbolises our commitment to them and how we value their contribution.

“Just like investing in equipment, I see training as a vital, ongoing investment that we need to make. The funding gives me the extra confidence to commit to it, and allows us do more.

“I access funding for a range of business growth projects and it’s useful to connect with organisations like the LEP and WYCC who can always point you in the right direction for support, even if they cannot help you directly.”

Projects Director at the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges Joanne Patrickson said,

“It is important for businesses to have a simple method to get in touch with us, or one of our partners. Booking a Skills Plan is a great way to make that first point of contact so we can understand the skills needs and link the business to the right funding or opportunity. The engagement we have with businesses also provides us with the insight to develop future, collaborative skills programmes in the region.

“Each of our partners have a dedicated business engagement team who carry out the Skills Plans. We find that these sessions often develop into long-term relationships and businesses will come back for support and advice over many years.”

Businesses in the Leeds City Region can request a free Skills Plan here: book.westyorkshirecolleges.co.ukChoose from Bradford College, Calderdale College, Go Higher West Yorkshire, Kirklees College, Leeds City College, Leeds College of Building, Shipley College, the Textile Centre of Excellence, Wakefield College or the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges.

Let’s Talk Real Skills is managed by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges and funded by the European Social Fund. To be eligible, businesses must be an SME (under 250 employees) based in one of the following districts: Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield or York.


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