Berkshire colleges unveil new project to help local businesses upskill their workforce for free

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A group of training providers, led by East Berkshire College, has secured a £900,000 contract from the European Social Fund (ESF) to help small to medium-sized businesses across Berkshire to upskill their employees for free.

Businesses with less than 250 employees* and operating in Berkshire will be able to access the fully-funded training for employees aged over 16 (and resident in the UK/EU). Training will be delivered on a flexible, modular basis and will be specifically tailored to the needs of the individual business and its employees.

The Skills for the Workforce programme is being delivered in partnership with Bracknell & Wokingham College, Newbury College, Reading College, TESS Group and West Berkshire Training Consortium.

Lynette Chadwick, ESF Project Manager at East Berkshire College, explains: “With over 40,000 SMEs in Berkshire, we want to support as many businesses as possible in their growth plans. The focus of the Skills for the Workforce programme is to deliver free workplace training to develop highly skilled employees.

“The training programmes are fully funded and flexible in order to be most effective for businesses. Whether a company is looking to develop senior managers or employees with no formal qualifications, we can deliver appropriate training at a time and place to suit. All the training partners in this project have years of experience of working in a wide range of sectors, and can ensure businesses receive high-quality training to meet their needs.”

The Skills for the Workforce project, which runs until June 2018, is designed to boost the skills of the local workforce and help local businesses to be more productive and competitive. Employers can access training for their employees in a range of areas including management and team leading, innovation and business development, IT and specific industry-related skills to meet the requirements of their business. Other key sectors include IT, administration, science, health and care, nursing, engineering and hospitality.

Employees can gain accredited units, certificates or diplomas as well as non-accredited training to enhance their knowledge and skills. They will then have the opportunity to go on to complete a full, industry-recognised qualification, such as an apprenticeship.

The Skills for the Workforce programme is part of the Employees Support in Skills project, which is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and co-financed by the Skills Funding Agency.

For information on the project and how your business can access free training, contact East Berkshire College on 01753 443855, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or click here.

*Businesses who have less than 250 full-time equivalent employees.

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