From education to employment

Train to Gain adapts to support small to medium sized businesses

Train to Gain has become more flexible to support small and medium sized businesses training their staff in the face of the downturn in the economy.

Since the start of January, the measures have included free and and part-funded ‘bite-size’ training courses, in areas ranging from finance and credit to risk management, which generally generate quick returns to business.

Chris Banks, Chair of the Learning and Skills Council, said: "Real help is now available for those who need it most in the current economic climate. Making sure your staff are equipped with the right skills is critical to helping your business survive these tough times."

In November last year Train to Gain’s leadership and management programme was also extended to help businesses employing between five and 250 staff gain access to up to £1,000 in funding. More than 340,000 small businesses now have access to the training grant to fund areas including coaching, mentoring and to help employees work towards a qualification.

Mr Banks continued: "We know that businesses which don’t invest in training are two-and-a-half times more likely to fail. Without doubt this extra money and support for smaller businesses really could make the difference between success and failure. We urge all employers to take advantage of it."

The announcement of free training through Train to Gain at Level 2 and partial-funding for Level 3 also means businesses can now provide employees with a range of skills at different levels.

John Hardcastle, managing director of technical and documentation services firm Allan Webb, has recently signed up to leadership and management training.

Mr Hardcastle said: "We needed some specific training at management level to help us invigorate our processes, especially timely in the current climate. The leadership and management funding offered through Train to Gain fitted the bill perfectly. What was even better was that we found we could organise the training to specifically suit our requirements and that we could carry it out at our offices, when it suited us."

Skills Minister Lord Young commented: "It’s more important than ever that businesses and people have access to real help in these tougher times. That is why we have made Train to Gain more flexible so that it can respond particularly to the needs of small businesses. We know that businesses will benefit from investing in the skills of their employees. We encourage all businesses to take advantage of the new flexibilities. This is not the time to stop investing in skills."

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