Hartlepool gets extra £800k to increase skills of workers

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

COUNCIL bosses have received an extra £800,000 for a regional project aimed at increasing skills of hundreds of workers.

Hartlepool Borough Council is leading the two-year Skills Support for the Workforce project on behalf of the Tees Valley and has been given extra funding from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

The project is designed to provide a range of training to help people in employment enhance their skills, boost their own career prospects and reduce the risk of long-term unemployment and dependency on the welfare state.

The extra funding will be used to make sure more people are involved.

Initially the project had a target of engaging with 2,162 employees, but with the extra cash it will now engage with 2,460 across the whole of the Tees Valley - almost 300 extra people.

It will also include more financial support to employers to take on apprentices and workshops for employers to improve their generic skills around human resources and management.

The project is designed to target small to medium businesses in key sectors where skills are needed to meet “greatest employer needs”, say regeneration chiefs at the local authority.

Targeted industries include logistics, chemical processing, digital, advanced manufacturing, engineering and health and social care.

The group being targeted is those adults, in work, with a basic skills need or those without a full level two qualification and other groups such as women, those with disabilities, ethnic minorities and those aged over 50.

In total the extra £800,000 will help hundreds of extra employees engage in skills development, incentives to employ apprentices and more incentives to employers to release staff for the training.

Councillors on the regeneration services will meet next week to discuss the project.

A report by Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director of regeneration, said: “The SFA contacted the project staff in December to offer additional funding to support this project.

“After discussions with the SFA an additional £800,000 was applied for. This amount was allocated to both delivery activities and non-learning activities in both elements of the project.

“Confirmation was received in January that this figure had been approved by the SFA and would be made available to Hartlepool Borough Council as the lead authority.”

The council’s regeneration services committee is due to meet on Thursday at 9.30am at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.