Launch of new skills campaign to mark UK Employability Day

To mark UK Employability Day today, (14 July) we have launched a new campaign to encourage small and medium sized businesses to develop the skills and expertise of their workforce. The #LetsTalkRealTraining campaign highlights the benefits of investing in skills and training - whether that's putting staff through bespoke training or taking on an apprentice – and the support that is available to enable businesses to do this.

Over 3,000 businesses from across the region have already benefitted from support and funding through the LEP skills service to ensure that staff have the skills that businesses need to grow. Support is also available to help businesses find the best route to take on an apprentice. These opportunities will be highlighted through a host of campaign activity, including the opportunity to meet face-to-face with skills experts at a series of ‘pop up’ events being held across the region, a programme of telemarketing and targeted advertisement on social media.

One business to benefit from skills support is IC Blue Limited – a specialist electronic component distributor employing 30 people – who approached the LEP when staff needed training on all aspects of commercial risk. The training meant the company was able to reduce its reliance on outside advice and save time and money. Staff also received leadership and communication training through the LEP skills service, which aimed to increase efficiency, enable better customer relationships and ultimately reduce costs and increase sales.

Matthew Ward, Director of IC Blue said: “The training organised through the LEP skills service saved our business time and money by ensuring our staff are fully trained to meet our business needs. Our business is now in a much stronger position to pursue contracts with overseas customers which will serve to increase our export capability. Additionally, we’re confident that this will potentially lead to five to eight new employees being appointed in the next 12 months.”

The company also employ three full time apprentices in their logistics and accounts departments with one apprentice on track to qualify as a nationally recognised AAT Accounting Technician.

Established in 2003, the company has experienced stable growth, with plans in place to increase turnover by 25%. With a head office in Leeds, the company also has offices in Spain, Portugal and Greece and are planning further expansion. Over 25 languages are spoken in house and the business supports manufacturers in over 32 countries.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Skills lead for the LEP and Leader of Bradford Council, said:

“IC Blue are a great example of a business investing in its workforce to increase revenue and tap into new markets. By training their staff through the LEP skills service and taking on apprentices, IC Blue have been able to reap the rewards.”

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the LEP, said

“I’m delighted to hear that IC Blue have benefitted from the wide range of support offered through the LEP, particularly as we celebrate UK Employability Day. Training and apprenticeships are a key element of the LEP’s vision for the growth of the Leeds City Region and I would encourage businesses interested in how we can support in both these areas to contact us to find out more.”

If you’d like to find out more about the skills support that is available contact the LEP skills service on, 0113 386 1910 or visit for more details.