Expanded programme to support skills development in local businesses in North East of England

We are delighted to announce that the North East Ambition skills programme, which will provide support to small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is being rolled out across the North East of England, to help local employers to address their skills needs and grow and recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The North East Ambition programme, which forms part of Education Development Trust’s careers work, seeks to help SMEs in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area to make the right investments into skills development, at a time when the new economic conditions require businesses to rapidly adapt, innovate and change. Businesses across the region will be able take advantage of the free and impartial support, which will provide guidance around developing and upskilling their workforce, as well as working with schools and colleges to inspire the next generation of employees.

The programme, part-funded by the European Social Fund, is delivered by Education Development Trust in partnership with the North East LEP and follows the hugely successful North East Ambition pilot, which worked to address the regional skills gap by bringing together educators and SMEs. The expansion of the programme will also provide employers with up-to-date information on support schemes that are available to fund training and recruitment.

The North East Ambition programme is part of the North East Strategic Economic Plan to ensure that demand for skills and the quality of jobs continue to improve, leading to a more productive, inclusive, and sustainable regional economy. The programme will have a focus on the four areas in the North East economy identified as having a strong opportunity for growth, which includes digital, advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences, and energy. It will also support four enabling service sectors that support the wider economy and offer significant opportunities for more and better jobs: education; financial, professional and business services; transport and logistics; and construction.

Elaine Inglis, Assistant Director, Careers, at Education Development Trust commented: “We are very excited to be building on the excellent work undertaken by the North East LEP in establishing the North East Ambition programme. Having employees with the right skills will play a key role in helping local employers recover from the effects that COVID19 has had on the economy. We know that for many SMEs, it can be challenging to understand what skills development and training options are available and how to access these. The support we can provide will be vital in enabling regional employers to anticipate the skills they will need to prosper and understand how to build these skills into their business.”

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East LEP said: “The expansion of North East Ambition is a great way to continue to build upon the fantastic work that has been done so far. We know the labour market is facing rapid change with increased digitisation and new technologies and businesses will need to prepare for and adapt to that. By harnessing the success of North East Ambition, we can engage with businesses and facilitate the collaboration needed to allow employers to invest in the right skills and future-proof their workforce.”

To find out more about the North East Ambition programme, please click here or to find out more about our careers and employability work, please click here.