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Training together to build a better future

11th November 2017

Pictured:  Ian Burke and staff from Sage Gateshead taking part in Level 3 and Level 5 Leadership Development Programme and Marketing training 

NGCV has been working closely with Gateshead College and their Go>Grow skills and enterprise programme to roll out training to improve the skills of the employees and volunteers working in our 20 venues and heritage sites across Tyneside, as well as promote the opportunities across the cultural sector.  Hundreds of people are already benefitting from the fully funded training, which is supported by the European Social Fund and Skills Funding Agency and many more are signing up to take advantage of the opportunities. 

As 10 cultural organisations working together, we have been able to develop and offer these opportunities with support from Gateshead College and their subsidiary company Amacus, amongst other training providers, as part of Go>Grow to:

  • support staff and volunteers to improve their own skills, knowledge, experience and future employment and progression prospects
  • help develop our workforce and build capacity and skills in the cultural sector
  • add value to all our organisations, to support their development and help them operate as efficiently and effectively as possible
  • improve the services and support for the visitors, participants and audiences who come to our venues or get involved in the wide range of programmes and activities in the venues and those delivered in communities and across the region. 

We have worked to maximise the benefit from this opportunity, which is available to all organisations interested in workforce development and to individuals who want to improve their skills.  NGCV partners have all undertaken training needs analysis, identified skills gaps and needs and worked with Gateshead College to agree and roll out appropriate training for staff and volunteers.  Wherever possible, NGCV partners have enabled staff from different venues to train together, to increase the benefits for themselves, organisations and customers.

We have identified some common areas of training, as well as developed training packages which are tailored to individual organisation’s needs.  The common skills needs and training being delivered, includes:

  • customer service skills for those involved in welcoming visitors and audiences
  • retail training for those involved in the shops and cafes we run
  • health and safety and technical training around operations, so our buildings and the experiences for visitors are safe
  • IT, business skills and leadership and management training to help the businesses grow and operate more effectively
  • communications and marketing training to help improve how we engage with our visitors and audiences
  • dementia and autism awareness training to help staff and volunteers cater for people with additional needs, their families and carers

Ian Burke Head of Human Resources for Sage Gateshead, said: “This funded training is helping our employees to increase their management and leadership skills, better understand customer needs as well as increase their skills, boost their confidence, help them to progress their careers in the cultural sector.”

Declan Baharini, Partnership Co-ordinator for NGCV said: “In addition to training to ensure staff can meet the broad range of business and customer needs, there will be a proportion of training dedicated to equipping people with skills to cater for visitors with additional needs, such as those who experience or care for people with dementia or autism spectrum disorders.

This training will be a very important part of the roll-out, boosting awareness of how to provide a high level of customer service and building on the strong support and range of cultural activities that already exist to widen access to our venues for people with special requirements or additional needs.”

Opportunities for individuals and organisations across the North East

Funding for training is available until summer 2018 for any eligible individuals and organisations and anyone interested is encouraged to get in touch with Gateshead College or visit the Go>Grow website to find out more and get involved.  This funding is for individuals and organisations in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership area (Newcastle,Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Durham and Northumberland), but there is funding also available in the Tees Valley area through Tees Valley Unlimited.

Ivan Jepson, Director of Business Development at Gateshead College said: “Go>Grow is a fully funded programme that will see us working together with other training providers to meet the skills needs of many of the region’s businesses. This will contribute to the economic prosperity of the North East, benefitting local employees and organisations like Sage who need upskilled and confident workforces.”

Go>Grow has the backing of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and North-East England Chamber of Commerce.  Experts will work to develop training that meets the individual needs of businesses, or offer those who wouldn’t ordinarily undertake training programmes, the opportunity to access bespoke packages specific to their needs.  A tailor-made programme is then developed and delivered at any of the Go>Grow training provider sites, or within the premises of the individual businesses.


The current list of Go>Grow partners is Gateshead College, Amacus, Zero Carbon Futures, Advanced Industrial Solutions Ltd, Bishop Auckland College, CDC Enterprise Agency Ltd, Centrepoint Soho, Enterprise Made Simple, Finchale Training College, Fit Training International Ltd, Gateshead Council Learning and Skills, Groundwork North East, JB Skills Training Ltd, KF Training Ltd, NA College Trust, New Generation Training and Consultancy, North East Business and Innovation Centre Ltd, Northumberland Business Service Ltd (NBSL), Northumberland College, Penshaw View Training Ltd, Principal Skills Ltd, Project North East, Remploy, RTC North, Sora Services Ltd, South Durham Enterprise Agency Ltd, Sunderland College, TyneMet College, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, and Zenith People Ltd.

Gateshead College successfully secured £15 million from the European Social Fund to deliver funded training to North East based businesses looking to develop their workforce and strengthen and grow their businesses. The fund is also designed to support individuals looking to get back into work, get promoted or start their own business. This training is delivered through a partnership of colleges, training providers and specialists in business support. Collectively, they have a huge range of expertise and options to offer anyone looking to develop their business and their skills. 

European Social Fund

The project is receiving up to £14,700,000 of funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England ESF programme. Established by the European Union ESF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, skills development, job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

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