Video: Skills Hub launches

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The skills deficit commonly blamed for holding Cornwall’s productivity back, is in the sights of a new signposting service.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (CIOS) Skills Hub aims to help businesses upskill and overcome barriers to growth, or areas of underperformance, by harnessing the benefits of training for their employees.

It has ambitious plans to embed a culture of skills and staff development across the CIOS business community and, over the next three years, will work directly with businesses on a one-to-one basis to help them to unlock a better and more successful future.

While capitalising on research which suggests that 87% of businesses value the positive impact that vocational training has on business performance, the EU-funded project will challenge the perception held by approximately half of all businesses that they lack the time or money to invest in it. As a delivery partner, the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce will support the team to reach businesses that could most benefit from the Skills Hub offer.

The official project launch took place at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall restaurant in Watergate Bay yesterday (October 4). Guests heard how, by advocating and facilitating staff development, the Skills Hub seeks to minimise the recruitment difficulties faced by more than three-quarters of local businesses when trying to find the right skills.

Stu Anderson, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Skills Hub operations director, explained: “A huge 77% of businesses in Cornwall have difficulty filling vacancies. They need skills that our workforce just doesn’t currently have – but that’s not to say that we lack the potential to develop them.

“Our role is to help businesses identify what skills they need and support them to address any gaps, whether that’s by upskilling a current member of staff or by expanding the team.”

Project manager, Josh Hoole, added: “In Cornwall there’s a vast choice of training options. When they are busy running their own operations, businesses are unlikely to be totally up to date with what’s available to them.

“We can take away the headache of researching what provision may be available, and whether it’s funded, and having got to know their company from an unbiased, independent perspective we will connect them with options that are right for them.”

Businesses of all shapes, sizes and sectors are eligible to access the Skills Hub service providing they are based in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly.

The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Skills Hub is part funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and match funded by Cornwall Council and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.