Greater Manchester’s Skills for Growth, which was launched to address skills gaps identified by employers in the city region, has now supported 20,000 individuals to gain new skills.
Made possible through the European Social Fund and launched during the pandemic, the £42 million Skills for Growth programme forged partnerships with businesses and training providers to create new learning opportunities for residents to upskill and reskill.
Examples in the manufacturing sector include Snuggledown, a pillow, mattress topper and duvet manufacturer in Wigan, which accessed fully-funded training on lean manufacturing techniques for a staff member.
Production Change Manager, Tony Bravander, commented:
“To access fully-funded training is a godsend. I know not a lot of manufacturing businesses have a large training budget, so this programme has definitely gone a long way to helping us support our employees.
“Not only will our collective learning help us to increase productivity, improve machine reliability and build on our health and safety procedures but it demonstrates a commitment to staff, therefore encouraging retention and ensures our employees remain engaged with the company.”
The Flava People, a food manufacturer in Wythenshawe, supported its senior development technologist, Laura Madden, to access an 18-month level 3 digital marketing apprenticeship to help her diversify her role. Commenting on her experience, she said:
“I’ve always been interested in digital marketing so I couldn’t wait to explore it as part of the day job. Traditionally, my role stops once the product is created, so my new learning will help me to deliver a much more rounded package to my clients.”
The Flava People benefitted from expert support from Skills for Growth – SME Support, a consultation service delivered by The Growth Company to help SMEs identify and fill their skills needs. So far, 3,800 SMEs have been supported by the service.
Scott Dixon, Managing Director of The Flava People, said:
“Skills for Growth – SME Support helped us to identify our gaps and it was clear there was real need for digital marketing. It’s fantastic that this has led to Lauren learning a new skill, which will not only support our business but will help Lauren to bolster her offer to our clients.
“Some small businesses are afraid to upskill their staff in case they decide to leave but I’m a firm believer in the opposite. If you show your employees that they’re valued, they are more likely to stay and grow with you as a business.”