Small businesses across County Durham are to receive free training to help address skills gaps as part of a £6m Government initiative.
The two-year programme aims to future proof supply chain companies by providing consultancy support to identify key needs including strategic planning and upskilling, then delivering mentoring and flexible training.
The £345,000 project follows a successful bid by a consortium led by Bishop Auckland College, and its Aycliffe-based subsidiary South West Durham Training (SWDT) to the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Catalyst fund.
The college was one of 34 universities and colleges to secure funding, receiving £200,000 from HEFCE.
Match funding came from the college and its subsidiary South West Durham Training, and bid partners County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network, South Durham Enterprise Agency and Aycliffe Business Park Community.
The college highlighted historic issues holding back the SMEs and micro businesses which dominate the county’s industrial base, including extensive technical skills gaps and low productivity.