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  • Business Clusters Project

    A consortium of leading Cornish training providers and industry specialists, led by the Ofsted Outstanding Truro and Penwith College, is preparing to launch a range of high-quality business support activities following the decision by the Department of Works and Pensions to approve the £6.87m Business Clusters project. The project will be part-funded by the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.

    The ESF Business Clusters project, which will run until July 2023, will engage and support at least 605 SME and micro-businesses in local economic priority sectors to determine their workforce skills needs and co-design and pilot new training programmes to enhance the industry-relevance of the local educational offer.  

    To deliver the Business Clusters project, Truro and Penwith College will be working alongside Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Cornwall Council, Cornwall Marine Network, Digital Peninsula Network, Kernow Health CIC, Software Cornwall and The Cornwall College Group. The strength of this assembled partnership will enable the project to offer employer-led activities to a wide range of key sectors, including Construction, Early Years, Health and Social Care, Hair and Beauty, Hospitality and Leisure, Manufacturing, Marine, Retail and Digital Technologies and Software.

    Chief Executive Officer of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Kim Conchie, said ‘The Chamber is delighted to be delivering the Business Clusters programme alongside Truro and Penwith College. I think this programme demonstrates the next logical phase of business development in the County giving business owners and their colleagues real focus to their plans and aspirations.’

    The investment secured from the European Social Fund will be targeted to support businesses to reflect on and recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in areas such as operations and workforce. In addition, four of the Business Clusters partners will be offering a programme of complementary activities for the Health and Social Care sector, in recognition of their crucial role during the pandemic.

    The REACH Cornwall project, which was established by Truro and Penwith College in 2018 to raise excellence and aspirations in the Health and Social Care sector, will now continue as part of the Business Clusters project. Project Co-ordinator, Jenny Gramnes, said ‘The staff active in this sector have worked incredibly hard for these past nine months and will all need our continued support. Their struggles are not over and, when we meet them online for training, we see how they go through their working days wearing face coverings and battling fatigue but remain in good spirits and are keen to learn. For the next phase we want to expand our training into clinical skills and physiological observations. We are also very excited to launch our new, high-level apprenticeship for aspiring registered managers which we hope will fill some of the many such vacancies in Cornwall.”

    The ESF Business Clusters project represents a key strand of Truro and Penwith College’s wider business engagement and support activities across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which also include the South West Institute of Technology and the development of a new £6.3 million STEM and Health Centre in Bodmin following the successful award of funding from the government’s Getting Building Fund.

    Andy Stittle, Director of Partnerships, commented that ‘Truro and Penwith College’s work on supporting Cornwall’s economic growth and business engagement continues to grow and obviously now includes strands responsive to the emergent pandemic recovery and needs of our business community. Projects such as the Business Clusters further enhance opportunities to collaborate with our partners in the design and delivery of support, industry-relevant local training options and sustainable growth.

    For further information regarding the Business Clusters project please contact Laura Hames, Contract Manager, at laurahames@truro-penwith.ac.uk.

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