£5.1m skills training pot for Swindon & Wiltshire firms

By Anita Jaynes on 25 June, 2018

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Swindon and Wiltshire are urged to take advantage of a £5.1m skills training pot for their workforce, as a result of a contract extension.

The training is delivered as part of a programme called Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW), which Serco’s Employment, Skills & Enterprise business is managing across Swindon and Wiltshire. Since the programme launched in September 2016, 2,376 learners from 454 businesses across Swindon and Wiltshire have taken advantage of the funded training available*. Serco has just been awarded a contract extension to continue delivering the programme until March 2019.

Serco provides a range of courses to the following sectors, which have been identified as key priority sectors by Swindon and Wiltshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP):

  • Advanced Engineering and High Value Manufacturing
  • Health and Life Science
  • Financial and Professional Services
  • Digital and Information and Communications Technology
  • Construction
  • Land Based Industries
  • Visitor Economy
  • Adult Health and Social Care
  • Low Carbon Economy.

Businesses operating in these sectors can access funding for training courses such as IT, leadership and management, as well as vocationally-relevant training (depending on the sector).

To deliver the programme, which is co-funded by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Serco has partnered with expert training organisations to offer local businesses recognised accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses aiming to enhance employees’ skills and increase the competitiveness of the businesses.

Businesses can select from a range of qualifications or mix and match individual units to support their work. The courses, which can take place at the employees’ workplace, range from a few hours’ training, to units of NVQ or other qualifications. Programme participants have benefited from increased employee confidence, motivation and productivity and businesses have reported improved employee loyalty and retention.

Commenting on the contract extension, Rob Matts, Serco’s Head of Skills Support for the Workforce, said: “We are delighted that the Education and Skills Funding agency are trusting Serco to continue making a positive impact to local communities in Swindon and Wiltshire. Skills Support for the Workforce is a brilliant skills training programme which small businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire can take advantage of at no cost to them. Thousands of people have benefited from this programme already and I would urge businesses to make the most of the funding available before March 2019, so that they too can benefit from this investment in vital skills training,”

Sally Burnett, Skills Lead at Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “Continuous development of the workforce is vital for any business to succeed in today’s competitive markets and we are pleased Serco will continue to manage this programme. The fact that Skills Support for the Workforce is fully funded means businesses can benefit from expert support for their employees, without having to bear the associated cost, which I’m sure small businesses in particular will appreciate.”

Businesses can contact Serco on skillssupport@serco.com or visit www.serco-ssw.com for more details and to find out if they are eligible for funded training through Skills Support for the Workforce.

More details for businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire here.

Serco also delivers this programme in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Dorset, Gloucestershire, South East Midlands, Coventry and Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Stoke and Staffordshire. In Devon and Somerset Serco delivers Heart of the South West Apprenticeship Service.

*Figures correct as of 30 April 2018