Last call for Lancashire’s businesses to access funding for workforce growth

Businesses across Lancashire struggling to recruit the right candidates, or who are looking to grow their workforce, are being reminded to take advantage of a fully-funded support programme before it comes to an end in March 2019.

The Lancashire Employment and Skills Executive Partnership (LESEP) secured £7.7million from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and European Social Fund (ESF) to deliver Access to Employment (AtoE) across Lancashire. Preston’s College is the lead accountable body for AtoE on behalf of the Partnership.

As well as supporting unemployed or inactive adults into employment, AtoE provides businesses with access to ready and willing candidates to help support objectives and achieve growth. Businesses can work with LESEP to design bespoke, pre-employment training before they recruit to ensure it is tailored to their needs and that individuals are equipped with the relevant skills.

Lancashire’s businesses have been able to fill over 500 vacancies as a result of working with the AtoE programme with many more expected to be filled before the programme comes to an end next March.

Chorley-based Matthews and Leigh Civil Engineering, Blackburn’s Cookson & Clegg and The Senator Group in Accrington have all benefited from the programme.

Victoria Grant, operations director at Cookson & Clegg, said: “We’ve previously struggled to find candidates through traditional recruitment means so Access to Employment has been great. As an employer it’s important for us to be able to create jobs for local people and the programme has helped us to do that. One of the main benefits of AtoE is that as an employer, we can decide what skills we want potential new employees to be equipped with, so pre-employment training programmes can be tailored to your own business needs.”

Karen Cushion, training manager at Matthews and Leigh, said: “As a construction company, we often find it difficult to find people with the right skills. We use AtoE as a recruitment tool to address this by bringing new people into the industry to develop their skills and our future skilled workers. I would absolutely recommend Access to Employment to other businesses and we are looking forward to seeing apprentices progress and build their careers with us.”

Raeleen Duthoit, support and development manager at LESEP, said:

“Access to Employment has successfully created a pipeline of talent and skills for the benefit of local businesses to enable them to expand and achieve growth as well as generating opportunities for people to obtain employment. I would urge all Lancashire businesses looking to recruit or grow their workforce to take advantage now whilst there are still funds available.”

Businesses interested in finding out more about the programme can visit or email