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Specialist Skills Support Programme

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Why Specialist Skills Support Programme? 

  • Succession plan for your future
  • Expand your organisations knowledge and skills
  • Grow your business

Free training opportunities are available for SMEs in the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding region to support planning for an ageing workforce, recruiting and developing graduates and support for changing business markets. 

The programme is relevant for all business sectors and industry types including manufacturing related services, agriculture industries and services (including ICT). The types of businesses that have taken part in the courses to date, to name a few, have included food manufacturing, construction, architectural, marketing, fashion / food retailers, recruitment, telecomms and transport.  

All courses are designed to offer maximum value for limited input. Depending on the course undertaken, the commitment required from the business ranges from two hours to three and a half days but the benefits to the business could last for years to come.

The next Support for Changing Markets Programmes will start on the 5 July and Graduate Development Programme on the 7 July.

All programme strands are open for SMEs to register their interest, with consultancy sessions and training and networking events taking place until the end of August 2022. 

Don’t miss out, register your interest today. 

The sign-up process is quick and simple to book onto:

Click here to sign up for FREE


Local business owner, Toni Eastwood OBE, Founder of Quantum Vantage said:
"Following the programme I have: re-thought our target market, re-designed our offer, we are having a rebrand as a result. We have done lots of work on strategy and cascaded that through the team getting them engaged in the process and it has kicked off a whole new approach to our research and actions related to that. We got such a lot from the programme”.

Case Studies and Testimonials

Find out how we have helped many businesses

Programme Background

The Specialist Skills Support Programme (SSSP) is delivering a programme of activities to support Micro, Small and/or Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) businesses and their employees, enabling them to take advantage of the opportunities for growth and increased prosperity in the York, North Yorkshire, East Riding (YNYER) Region.

Download the programme flyer to find out more information about the training on offer: SSSP Flyer (PDF , 139kb)

The Programme is part funded by the European Social Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is the Managing Authority for the European Social Fund.

Charlotte Hartley, Programme Manager of the Specialist Skills Support Programme said:“We are ready and willing to use our expertise and knowledge to help small businesses in our city and region to innovate and thrive. The pandemic has posed many challenges for local businesses and as a University for public good it has never been more important for us to help them to recover, innovate and grow.” 

The Programme is being led by Calderdale College of which the University of York are one of the delivery partners working across the following three programme strands. 

Specialist Support for an Ageing Workforce




Register today to plan for an ageing workforce  

Register your interest

This strand is offering innovative solutions to address current and future shortfalls in skilled labour due to an ageing workforce.

The support available consists of:

  • Two hours of online consultancy to regional SMEs who have been identified as having business challenges due to their ageing workforce
  • Support to develop an action plan to create a sustainable approach to retaining  knowledge in the business and creating progression routes and talent mapping for the workforce
  • Optional three hours of online mentoring training for employees who could pass on knowledge to younger or more junior employees

Find out more information and register your interest

Develop your Business through Graduates

Let us help you to find and develop a graduate to grow your business

Register today to develop your business through graduates: 

Register your interest

This strand is providing support to businesses who either already have graduate employees in place or are in the process of identifying suitable graduate roles and recruitment. 

The support on offer includes 

  • An online toolkit built to support SMEs in their graduate and internship recruitment
  • Help to build a network for graduates joining SME businesses in the region, creating professional and social links, aiding the retention and development of skills in the region
  • Training for Graduates in soft and commercial skills similar to what is available at some larger graduate recruiters through six half-day online workshops

Find out more information and register your interest

Support for Changing Markets 

Free training and help for your number 1 business priority

Register today for support with changing markets: 

Register your interest

This strand of the programme is helping businesses who are thinking about moving into a new market to scope out potential opportunities and better understand the market, including size, value and customer. 

The support on offer includes: 

  • Two hours of online consultancy to support businesses in identifying how their new proposition sits in the marketplace and next steps to realise the potential of this new proposition
  • Four half-day online workshops
  • Support  to develop an action plan that sets out the next steps the business need to take to explore the market further and embark on ar new strategy

Find out more information and register your interest

Eligibility Checker

Are you:

  • A Small to Medium Sized Enterprise (SME)
  • Based in York, North Yorkshire or East Riding
  • Employing less than 250 full time equivalent staff
  • Have a turnover of less than €50 million, or a balance sheet of less than €43 million

Don’t delay, get in-touch today!

Sign up for FREE

There is no charge for the support on offer, all we require is for you to complete a few short forms so that we can assess your eligibility and tailor the content to your business needs.

Further Information

If you would like further information about the support available or help booking onto the programme, please contact the team on:

L to R: Nicola, Charlotte, Dawn

Charlotte Hartley
Programme Manager
01904 326819

Nicola Vickers
Senior Monitoring Officer and Coordinator
01904 325144

Dawn Mayer
Programme Administrator
01904 326548