A programme aimed at boosting the potential of employed, but unskilled workers, has secured £13 million to launch in Cornwall.
Skills Support for the Workforce is set to be led by Cornwall College, backed with multi-million pound funding from ESF Convergence and the Skills Funding Agency.
The scheme will develop tailored training programmes, designed to equip employees with the education and support they need to develop their careers and help the business that they work for, to grow.
The Local Economic Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has helped to outline local business priorities and the skills gaps that employers have said they will need to fill looking ahead. SWW is being targeted to support businesses within sectors that have been identified as strong contributors within the local economy.
They range from the food and drink, tourism and leisure enterprises, through to digital, high-tech engineering, manufacturing and low carbon enterprises. Voluntary and community-based organisations will also qualify.
Anyone over the age of 19 who is employed or self-employed with a Cornwall-based company will be eligible to take part.
An estimated 40,000 people within the Cornwall workforce do not currently have a 'level two' qualification – the equivalent of five grade A* to C GCSEs.
It's hoped that SSW will support over 4,500 people, to achieve new workplace-relevant qualifications; ranging from introductory taster courses through to higher-level skills-based programmes.
Mark Williams, director of apprenticeships and work place learning at Cornwall College said: "Business improvement is dependent on a skilled workforce which is able to develop in tune with evolving economic need. This project will play a key role in bringing this about."
Mark Yeoman, head of ESF convergence communication, added: "People are our key economic asset and it is vital that they have access to the skills needed by business, both now and into the future."
The skills training will be offered by Cornwall College – which already has 40 individuals waiting to begin training – in partnership with a number of other local organisations: DMTBS, Focus Training, Petroc, Education and Training Skills, the Learning Partnership, General Physics, Cornwall Council and Truro and Penwith College.
Training will also be made available to workers who directly approach the learning centre with the aim of exploring a new area of employment.
Courses will be designed to fit in around working hours and the scheme is set to run until July 2015.
An open day, primarily aimed at briefing employers will be held at Kingsley Village, Fraddon, on October 15.