Government £350m Training Boost
The Government has pledged £350 million to provide extra skills training to small businesses to help them cope with the economic crisis.
From 1 November, funding will be available for businesses to access ‘bite–sized’ courses in subjects known to be important to SMEs, such as business improvement, team–working, customer service and risk management. Small businesses will be fully funded for additional training from January next year.
SMEs will also be invited to take part in a free ‘skills health check’ and training audit, to find out which courses could help their business.
According to Skills Secretary John Denham, businesses which put money into expanding staff skills are better equipped to survive a recession.
“We know that firms which invest in skills do better than those that don’t, which is why we will be urging small businesses to take up this offer”.
“Small businesses are an important engine of our economy and we must make sure that we support them during tough economic times,” he added.
According to Denham, the Government is overhauling the current training system so that training can be provided to SMEs with “the minimum of bureaucracy and delay”. For example, in an effort to cut red tape and widen eligibility, the current requirement for Government–funded training to be available only if the programme ends in a qualification is being scrapped.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), reduced bureaucracy levels would make it much easier for small firms to access state–funded training. CIPD learning co–ordinator, Dr John McGurk said:
“In the SME sector, focusing on management and leadership training is particularly important as owners often have little direct experience of managing others.”
“The best way to improve productivity across the workforce is to concentrate on training frontline managers,” he added. “Research shows that just 37% of employees believe their manager helps to improve their performance. Poor people management remains one of the biggest causes of stress and conflict at work.”
Read our article for more information on using training effectively.