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Specialist Skills Support Programme

Latest Programme News

Updated 27 August 2021 

All programme strands are now OPEN for SMEs to register their interest to! Consultancy sessions will start to be delivered from this month with training and networking events taking place from September onwards. 

Don’t delay in getting in touch to reserve your company’s place!

Programme Background

The Specialist Skills Support Programme (SSSP) will deliver 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. 

The Programme is 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.

The Programme is being led by Calderdale College of which the University of York are one of the delivery partners working across three of the programme strands, which includes Specialist Support for an Ageing Workforce, Develop Your Business Through Graduates and Support for Changing Markets.   

Specialist Support for an Ageing Workforce

This strand will provide support to SMEs by offering innovative solutions to address current and future shortfalls in skilled labour due to an ageing workforce. The support available will consist of:

  • Consultancy to regional (York, North Yorkshire and East Riding) SMEs who have been identified as having business challenges due to their ageing workforce, and setting in place an action plan to create a sustainable approach to retaining  knowledge in the business and creating progression routes and talent mapping for the workforce
  • Mentoring training for employees who have been identified by the business who will need to mentor and pass on knowledge to younger employees

Please click here to view the process and to register your interest in this strand.

Develop your Business through Graduates

This strand of the programme will provide support to businesses who either already have graduate employees in place or that are in the process of identifying suitable graduate roles and recruitment. It will 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 in the soft and commercial skills similar to that available at some larger graduate recruiters will be on offer.

The support on offer will also provide online guidance and tools to aid SMEs in their graduate and internship recruitment.

Please click here to view the process and to register your interest in this strand.

Support for Changing Markets 

This strand of the programme will help 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. It will support the business in identifying how their new proposition sits in the marketplace and identify next steps to realise the potential of this new proposition. 

At the end of the process, the business will have been supported to write an action plan that sets out the next steps they need to take to explore the market further and embark on their new strategy. In addition, the business will also be referred to other programmes that may help to drive their ambitions forward.

Please click here to view the process and to register your interest in this strand.


In order to be eligible for support through the Programme the business must:

  • Have a business premises in the York, North Yorkshire, East Riding region (Craven, Harrogate, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough, Selby, York)
  • Be a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME): employ fewer than 250 full time equivalent staff and have either a turnover of less than €50 million, or a balance sheet of less than €43 million

Programme Dates

The consultancy sessions are being delivered from now onwards with the group training and network support sessions to begin from September 2021 onwards. The programme will run until July 2022 at the earliest.

Further Information

If you would like to find out further information about the programme and support available, please email us or telephone us on +44 (0)1904 326819.

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