The South Tyneside office of the Legal Aid Agency has enhanced its management team after taking advantage of free training, delivered as part of a wider commitment to invest in its staff.

The Legal Aid Agency is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice and has a regional office in Jarrow. The agency contracts with organisations across England and Wales to provide civil and criminal legal aid services. The South Tyneside office has seen more than 20 of its staff benefit from bespoke leadership and management courses. This has been delivered through regional skills and enterprise programme, Go>Grow.

The initiative has already brought noticeable benefits, including boosting staff confidence, enhancing the trainees time management skills and making them more efficient and cohesive as a team.

The Go>Grow initiative has the backing of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the North East of England Chamber of Commerce. It was launched in partnership with over 30 local training providers after Gateshead College, which heads-up the scheme, successfully secured £15m of funding from the European Social Fund (ESF).

Hartlepool-based Amacus, a subsidiary of Gateshead College and one of the scheme’s providers, is working with the Legal Aid Agency to deliver level 3 and level 5 training in leadership and management. This will give the trainees new skills to progress on to chartered management institute (CMI) accredited courses.

The level 3 course, which is being delivered to nine staff, is aimed at staff who are looking to progress into supervisor and managerial roles and covers a range of topics. This includes communication and motivation skills, designed to improve operational efficiency, as well as building leadership capabilities.

The level 5 programme is being delivered to 14 staff and is targeted at senior and departmental managers. It gives trainees the chance to conduct their own management project, as well as understanding stakeholder needs and learning key management techniques.

Chris Grainger, operations site lead at the Legal Aid Agency, said:

The Go>Grow programme is a fantastic initiative, which is offering businesses like ours the chance to take advantage of free training and invest in the ongoing development of our workforce. In the long-term, this will strengthen the skillset of our team and help us deliver the best possible service and advice to our clients.

“Amacus meets our specific development needs and the training has been very practical and interactive, so the trainees have been able to apply their learning to real scenarios.”

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Sarah Ainslie, business development manager at Amacus, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the Legal Aid Agency. Through our training programmes, the organisation is helping to provide its employees with a pathway to enhanced career progression and personal development opportunities which will also see them gain valuable, industry recognised qualifications.”

Amacus has worked alongside the Legal Aid Agency to focus on the specific needs of the business, taking in to consideration the organisation’s values and culture, which supports continuous improvement and high performance.

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

“Through the Go>Grow programme, we’ve been able to support hundreds of local businesses. From helping them to facilitate growth plans, to helping them remain competitive and secure their future.

“Access to the funding has also allowed many North East businesses to invest in their workforces and support individuals. Without the free training, it wouldn’t have been possible and I’m really proud that we have helped make a difference to so many of the region’s businesses.”

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