A major new skills programme to help businesses adapt and evolve to the changing world is being launched in the Bristol region.
The £8m Workforce for the Future scheme is a free service designed to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to identify and address their current and future needs in the midst of additional challenges faced due to the pandemic.
The programme – led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and co-funded by the European Social Fund – will focus on upskilling and retraining employees in growth areas, such as digital.
There is also an emphasis on attracting new talent – including apprentices – developing a more skilled workforce, fostering innovation, boosting business resilience and flexibility, and increasing diversity and inclusivity in workplaces.
Regional mayor Tim Bowles said: “Backing our businesses with the skills they need to emerge strongly from the pandemic and protecting and securing decent jobs is at the heart of my plan for our economic recovery. Our Workforce for the Future programme is a flagship part of that plan.
“Workforce for the future will help us adapt and evolve to the changing world and seize the opportunities that digitalisation and new technology present, supporting our businesses and shaping our talent pool to meet the needs of tomorrow.”
Workforce for the Future is part of a package of measures being put in place in a bid to help kick-start the regional economy.
The service is available to SMEs with less than 250 employees based in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. All of the support available through WECA can be accessed through the regional Growth Hub.
Main photo by Lowie Trevena