Ivan Jepson, Director of business development at Gateshead College

An initiative to upskill workforces and boost productivity across the North East has hit a major milestone, delivering free training to more than ten thousand people.

The Go>Grow scheme has seen thousands of individuals and organisations benefit from training over the last five months, helping them to improve business performance and equip employees with critical new skills.

The scheme was launched after Gateshead College, which is leading the project, secured £15m worth of funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) through the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

So far, more than £7.5m worth of training has been delivered as Go>Grow has helped people to gain vital skills to successfully gain employment and improve their effectiveness at work, with many businesses seeing an uptake in demand for their services as a result.

The courses are being delivered in partnership with colleges, training providers and business support specialists, with a wide range of subjects available.

Several leading North-East organisations including the Theatre Royal, housing association Gentoo, top visitor attraction Beamish Museum, Port of Tyne, Sage Gateshead and Newcastle Airport have seen their employees complete training under the scheme.

Dozens of local entrepreneurs and SMEs are also benefiting from the project, including independent trades people, IT firms A Byte Solutions and Advantex, intu Metrocentre pizza restaurant ModPizza and independent specialist food business, Calder’s Kitchen.

North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the North East of England Chamber of Commerce have also given their backing to Go>Grow.

Michelle Rainbow, skills director at North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP), said:

“I’ve been so impressed with the collaboration between Gateshead College and all of their partners in Go>Grow. The achievement of this important milestone is thanks to the hard work of that partnership.

“Ensuring that we have a skilled workforce is so important for economic growth in the North East. This partnership and the work that is done demonstrates how we can achieve the goals outlined in the North East strategic economic plan, to not only create more jobs, but better jobs too.”

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, said:

“I’m thrilled that through the Go>Grow scheme, we have been able to support over 10,000 organisations and individuals. It is a fantastic achievement, especially as we have just passed the halfway point.

“I feel very proud knowing that this scheme has created so many benefits for people and organisations across the region and has played a big part in boosting SME growth in the North East.”

Experts in the Go>Grow team will work to develop training that meets individual needs of businesses, or offer those who wouldn’t ordinarily undertake training programmes, the opportunity to access bespoke packages specific to their needs.

A tailor-made programme is then developed and delivered at any of the Go>Grow training provider sites, or within the premises of the individual businesses. The training is available until July 2018 and interested individuals and businesses are encouraged to contact Go>Grow to find out about the range of courses and training on offer.

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