For any ambitious business or organisation, building a dynamic workforce - finding the right people and giving them the skills they need - is the key to success. The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) clearly recognises this and has identified improving the skills base in the area as one of its key economic priorities, fundamental to underpinning business creation, innovation and growth in the area.
Working with the Skills Funding Agency, they have selected Ingeus UK to help deliver high impact short courses, bespoke skills training and accredited qualifications to North East SMEs as part of the European Social Fund (ESF) programme in the area. Ingeus is now overseeing the delivery of a significant ESF investment to provide a wide range of training to local employees. They have developed the Workforce Investment Network (WIN), an ambitious programme to help businesses by identifying their growth plans and workforce needs before matching them up to the best available training for their people.
The company has also been selected to oversee the delivery of the Local Response Fund (LRF) for the North East LEP. Local Response Funds have been put in place for each LEP area across the country and this additional ESF funding will enable LEPs to respond flexibly to a range of identified local skills priorities with a focus on upskilling employed individuals and helping SMEs in key sectors to become more competitive.
Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Board member with the lead on skills, is encouraged by the opportunity afforded by this initiative:
“The Local Response Fund represents a significant investment in skills in the North East LEP area and we are determined to ensure that we support a range of projects which both add value in the short term and leave a lasting legacy. Ingeus have demonstrated a strong commitment to delivering against the priorities we have identified; they have taken the initiative and shown flexibility in shaping their offer to meet with our existing and emerging strategic objectives.”
Ingeus UK is now working closely with the North East LEP and other key stakeholders across the area to ensure that a range of innovative projects will be funded through LRF which both address local priorities and lead to a lasting benefit for the North East. This close co-operation resulted in the North East identifying and developing one of the first LRF projects in the country to be approved by the SFA National Panel.
This first project is with a leading North East partnership, NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues (NGCV) and the LRF investment will allow NGCV to develop its own workforce and encourage access to training for the wider cultural sector.
Anthony Baker, Joint Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Dance City and the Chair of the NGCV Skills Group said:
“As a partnership, we are excited to be working on this important initiative for the sector. It marks a real step change to NGCV’s work in this area by creating a progressive training and development programme which works across cultural forms and is built around identifiable workforce needs. It is designed to develop individuals and businesses which already have strong creative or technical skills, but not necessarily all of the business thinking and practical skills which will enhance the performance of the overall cultural business. Our project also seeks to strengthen the profile of the cultural sector across the whole North East LEP area, as an important sector for investment, and aims to provide a lasting benefit for the North East”
Ingeus and NGCV have developed a strong working partnership and this first project will have a number of tangible results:
David Gallagher, who is the Head of Employer Services for Ingeus, based in their offices in Team Valley, said,
“We are delighted to be working with the North East LEP, SFA and key stakeholders in the North East to deliver the Workforce Investment Network and the Local Response Fund. This new initiative brings together the best of the region’s training providers and could make a real difference to local businesses. This is a great offer for them: there is no cost to the business or their staff for any of the support, analysis or training received. WIN and LRF are about working together to invest experience and expertise into North East businesses to help them to succeed and grow. This is good for local business and the success it leads to is good news for the area’s economy.”
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Notes on NGCV Skills
The quality and range of employment opportunities within the cultural and creative sector make it one of the more attractive areas for skills investment. NGCV employs 1233 people directly and supports 2003 FTE jobs, including self employed people.
Whilst the workforce includes specialist artistic, creative and technical roles, it also embraces management functions, finance and IT, as well as a range of administrative occupations and front of house functions. This includes opportunities for people with no or low qualifications to those graduating from the region’s universities with degrees that relate to cultural sector activities, who have played an important role in diversifying and raising the region’s skills base. In addition, NGCV provides work experience, apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities for people who may not otherwise have the opportunities to gain skills, knowledge and experience.
Anthony Baker (Joint CEO and Artistic Director of Dance City) is chairing NGCV Skills, a new partnership approach to collaborate and create collective impact around upskilling and reinvigorating the workforce.
NGCV Skills will: