Skills for Growth

Skills for Growth connects small and medium-sized business owners to local schools, colleges and universities. In doing so we work with businesses to build talent pipelines, increase productivity and close skills gaps.

Our aim is solely to help local businesses grow, and young talent thrive. Any small or medium sized business based in West Yorkshire, Craven, Harrogate, Selby and York is eligible.  

How much does this all cost? 

It’s free! Skills for Growth is part-funded by the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. 

Get in touch today and let us help your business grow

If you would like to learn more about how your business could benefit from working with us, contact the Skills for Growth team today and arrange a call with your local Business Partnership Adviser.

Five reasons your business could benefit from engaging with Skills for Growth

  1. To increase productivity and growth – By strengthening the connection between education and the specific needs of your business, you can take on a skilled workforce contributing to the expansion of your business. 
  2. To embrace diversity and inclusion – An opportunity to engage with young people from different backgrounds who may not have considered a job in your sector before.
  3. To future-proof your workforce – Early engagement with young people can help increase awareness of your business and sector, helping you to attract future talent and develop a long-term talent pipeline.
  4. To generate new business opportunities – Social responsibility and business engagement in local communities is viewed favourably by potential clients and can help you build stronger relationships and attract new suppliers, customers and clients.
  5. To save money – Developing the young talent that you need to grow, rather than paying for expensive recruitment fees. 

Tina Norbury, Director at Comforting Hands Recruitment

"Skills for Growth has been the lifeline that was needed by Comforting Hands Recruitment to confidently take the business to the next level. From the initial session it was made clear how the support will be accomplished. Realistic expectations based on the needs of the company were discussed and a mutual agreement was reached. Our Business Partnership Adviser provided us with tangible solutions which entailed signposting as well as direct introductions to the relevant people and institutions. I found this very assuring and effective as I was supported throughout the process. This action point was promptly executed giving me hope for imminent growth. We have already started receiving applications from students in the different universities via the job portals and also participated in a University Job Fair to show case our services."

What sort of activities and projects can your business become involved with?  

It depends on the nature of your business and exactly the sort of skills you are looking for, but it might be activities such as: 

  • Student placements and internships 
  • Curriculum planning and input 
  • Virtual work experience 
  • Careers fairs 
  • Guest speaking and lecturing 
  • Hiring an apprentice  
  • Hiring a graduate 
  • Workplace tours  

The process 

Here’s how it works and what you can expect from Skills for Growth.  

1. Registration of your interest using the below contact form

Then you’ll be allocated to one of our Business Partnership Advisers, who will be in touch to arrange a meeting with you.

Before your adviser meets you they will make sure they are fully informed about your business, your sector (and any issues it faces), and the relevant employment and skills support on a national and regional basis. 

2. Diagnostic assessment 

This will be a one-hour meeting whereby you meet your Business Partnership Adviser to discuss how the Skills for Growth programme can help you.  

A diagnostic interview will determine your business needs, primary objectives and growth targets, giving your Business Partnership Adviser everything they need to find solutions on your behalf. 

3. Solutions, actions and recommendations 

Your Business Partnership Adviser will produce an Education Engagement Plan (EEP). This will identify the education provider(s) that can offer the specific skills, talent and potential your business needs, as well as referrals to the type of collaboration that best fits. 

Once you’ve agreed to the recommendations, it’s all systems go.  

4. Project launch & delivery 

Your Business Partnership Adviser will broker your partnership with the education provider(s) of choice, making introductions and creating action plans and timescales. 

Throughout the duration of the partnership your Business Partnership Adviser will stay in the loop, offering support wherever needed, monitoring progress and working with you to sustain relationships with education providers.  


Get in touch today and let us help your business grow