£17.5m fund to help firms across Wakefield district train their staff

Coun Peter Box
Coun Peter Box

The government has announced £17.5m of funding to help businesses across the Wakefield district develop the skills of their workers.

The funding, announced by chancellor George Osborne on a visit to Leeds on Thursday, will allow small and medium sized businesses across the Leeds City Region to invest in improving the skills of their workers.

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box welcomed the funding and said it was an important step in devolving more power from central government to the region.

Coun Box said: “This means we can create more opportunities both in the wider region and in Wakefield.

“Small and medium size businesses need support to build the skills they need from their workforces so they can expand and take advantage of emerging markets, getting into shape to compete and to contribute to the local economy.

“This funding will support young people to gain the skills they need to get jobs with good prospects and I am looking forward to seeing this funding having a real impact on this district.”

The money, from the government’s employer ownership pilot, follows the announcement of £54.6m to the region for skills, business support, innovation, housing and regeneration.

Joanne Roney, council chief executive, said: “This announcement is excellent news.

“Addressing the skills deficit across the Leeds City Region has been a priority for the Leeds City Region’s Enterprise Partnership for many years.

“Preparing our people with the higher level skills needed in the emerging economy is imperative if we are to remain competitive in a global labour marketplace.”

The project is designed to build skills in businesses which offer the best chance of economic growth.

Ms Roney added: “Many of these sectors are represented in the Wakefield district and the new skills service will give employers the support they need.”