Major skills and confidence boost for the south-east

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Vice-Chancellor hails funding boost aimed at helping job-seekers and businesses through tough economic times.

Job-seekers and businesses are being offered a raft of training measures to help them through these rocky economic times.

Oxford Brookes University has won £473,680 to help thousands of unemployed people in the most deprived areas of Oxford boost their skills, qualifications and confidence and to give hundreds of innovative businesses in the region master classes in competitiveness.

The cash comes on top of a larger £2.7 million pot to train workers in higher skills over the next three years.

The latest award, from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, will help Brookes build on successful ongoing projects and complement existing programmes from organisations like Jobs Centre Plus, Train to Gain, Business Link and Oxford Innovation.

Individuals and students will be steered towards successful careers or given help starting their own business while innovative firms will get help to ride out the recession and become more competitive in readiness for the upturn.

Brookes has taken a close look at where help can be most effective and the programme will impact almost instantly. Initiatives include:

  • About 2,000 learners in disadvantaged and rural areas will be able to take courses to build their skills and qualifications.
  • Three-hundred seminar places are available showing how businesses can get to grips with trading in difficult times. Intensive training will be offered on survival and growth strategies.
  • Twenty vouchers, each worth the equivalent of £4,000 in consultancy, can be claimed by businesses.
  • Eight bursaries are being offered to recruit the best graduates from around the world to join local companies in knowledge transfer programmes.
  • 100 firms across the south-east will have heavily discounted access to the 'Business for Starters' online training programme which boasts a 100 per cent success rate in enhancing company survival and growth.
  • In addition, the programme will help anyone looking to start a new enterprise.

Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes, commented: "This a major piece of funding that will immediately and directly benefit companies and individuals most in need in these difficult economic times.

"Brookes is a key economic driver within the region and I am confident this programme will make a further impact on work that we have carried out over many years.

"These initiatives will give businesses and workers better chances throughout the downturn and beyond."