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Workers get £7m funding to improve qualifications

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 20, 2012

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An ambitious, multi-million pound drive has been launched to improve the skills of thousands of workers in Cornwall.

The £7.8 million Work Place Learning Project funded by European Convergence programme will help 6,000 people in work but whose chances of promotion or progress may be hampered because they have few qualifications.

The scheme brings together a dozen partners, including Cornwall College, where it was welcomed by the project co-ordinator Tony Harris.

"It's brilliant news," he said.

"Hopefully it will make a difference to employees and it will make a real difference to the competitiveness and performance of businesses in the area."

The project is aimed at anyone between 19 and retirement, although particular focus is on the younger age group up to 24.

It will mean that people who are in work but have a poor set of qualifications will be offered tailor-made training to improve their skill set.

"It is about improving and developing skills of people with low levels of qualifications who are already in work," said Mr Harris.

The partnership is designed to cover all parts of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and will identify, train and support the progression of people taking part, helping them into apprenticeships, further learning, more secure employment or promotion.

"The partnership will embrace all sectors across the whole of Cornwall and all our partners have good employer contacts," said Mr Harris.

"Cornwall College, for example, knows hundreds if not thousands of employers and we will be talking to them.

"The project is not about individuals nominating themselves, but about working with employers."

The scheme is led by Cornwall College and is being delivered by Truro and Penwith College, Duchy College, DMT Business Services Ltd, Focus Training (SW) Ltd, General Physics Skills Training, Education and Training Skills, Digital Peninsula Network, ReZolve, The Eden Project, the Council of the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change.

Mark Williams, director of apprenticeships and work place learning projects at Cornwall College said it was good news.

"This exciting scheme will help employees develop their individual potential and through their employment help bolster the competitiveness of our businesses by improving workforce performance, especially in the key sectors underpinning the regions' sustained economic growth."

Part of the project will focus on the key sectors identified as being crucial to the future economic success of the region, including rural land-based, food and drink, tourism and leisure and marine.

In addition, businesses with a strong focus on low carbon and digital activity as well as enterprise will be supported.

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