From education to employment

Scheme to Address the Lack of ICT skills Among London’s Small Businesses

A Learning and Skills Council (LSC) initiative designed to help local businesses in seven central London boroughs get the most from their IT resources was welcomed last week by Councillor Vicky Naish, the Mayor of Southwark, at a ceremony held to support its launch at the Novotel hotel.

The scheme, which boasts the snappy acronym ICT4SMEs and is subsidised by the European Social Fund (ESF), is designed to create opportunities for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) to improve efficiency and to add value to the products and services that they sell by providing them with the support, skills and knowledge to make the most effective use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The programme hopes to open up new markets and allow small companies to compete on a more equal basis with larger organisations.

Skills for SMEs After Survey

The projects target clients are those from the black and ethnic minority communities, women and excluded employers and employees with low ICT skills and few other qualifications.

According to a London E-Business Survey, over 25% of London’s businesses lack the infrastructure to make the most effective use of their ICT systems which has a negative knock-on effect upon their productivity and profitability. As well as benefiting businesses in Southwark, the ICT4SMEs programme seeks to provide organisations in Camden, Islington, The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Wandsworth and the City of Westminster with the skills and knowledge to make informed choices about technology usage.

Cut Price Courses and an IT Skills Check ““ Up

SMEs in the catchment area can take advantage of a free IT skills health check and cut-price training courses under the initiative which aims to deliver a coherent, comprehensive and collaborative approach to bridge the skills shortage gap in ICT training for smaller businesses.

Councillor Naish said: “I am delighted to be able to support the launch, it is important that businesses take advantage of this free training being offered in Southwark and the neighbouring boroughs. ICT has never been more important to the effectiveness and efficiency of companies day to day running and companies in London in particular must do all they can to ensure staff have the right opportunity to learn new skills to improve the competitiveness of businesses.”

Michael Lloyd

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