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Improving workforce capabilities

Training your staff and upskilling your employees can help your business to grow, find efficiencies, and improve business processes. It can also create a more loyal workforce as your employees will know that you are willing to invest in them and their careers, by allowing them to gain the knowledge and skills to do their job well.

Find training solutions for your workforce

Nottinghamshire County Council skills portal

Nottingham County Council has brought together details of employment and skills support schemes and grant funding in one place, making it easier for people to search for suitable support.

This free portal offers help to both businesses and individuals.

Ashfield Accelerator Project: Workforce development programme

The Ashfield Workforce Development Programme forms part of our new Accelerator Programme, funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), and delivered by East Midlands Chamber. The programme offers support to sole trader, micro, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating within healthcare, manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail, and transport and storage sectors. Local businesses can access a range of free training courses designed to increase employee capabilities.

In addition to this, SMEs will also have access to the new Ashfield Accelerator Grant which can provide between £8000 to £30,000 to support costs associated with adopting new technologies, research and innovation, trading overseas, decarbonisation and workforce development projects. See our Business Grants page for more information on grants.

Free courses England

This is an online platform that offers free courses for adults, businesses, and organisations.

You can search for free courses and be connected to training providers that utilise the UK Government’s adult education budget to fund courses completely for free. These courses are accredited by either NCFE CACHE or TQUK, making qualifications and certificates nationally recognised and regulated by Ofqual.

Find Government training and employment schemes - Free comparison tool

There's a range of government programmes available for employers who are considering hiring, offering work experience, or upskilling their existing staff. This platform helps you to understand what each scheme does, and how it adds value to your business.

It's been designed to help businesses quickly compare what's available, so that you can make more informed workforce development decisions.

Enterprising Ashfield Project - Courses and professional development

The Enterprising Ashfield Project is open to individuals in or out of work, and living or working within eligible postcodes in Kirkby in Ashfield or Sutton in Ashfield. You can check your postcode using the eligibility checker. This programme can provide bespoke training to local businesses, help upskill your workforce, support continued professional development, and address any skills gaps.

It is a fully funded programme from Ashfield District Council, delivered by Nottingham Trent University. Take a look at the EA website to see which skills courses are currently available. If your business needs specific skills to become more competitive, please get in touch with the Enterprising Ashfield Skills team by emailing them at as they may be able to tailor specific courses just for you.

NatWest business builder workshops

The business builder workshops are free, to help you to upskill and network with other like-minded business owners. There are 10 workshops that have been designed to support you with developing your business in a post-COVID world, allowing you to test new thoughts and ideas and bring them to life quickly and sustainably.

To sign up to the workshops, search for NatWest business builder on Eventbrite.

Work with a Mentor - Be the Business UK

Free mentoring and online support to help small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) business leaders improve the performance of their businesses, available through Be the Business UK. This is available for start-ups and established businesses, and provides support over 12 weeks to 12 months.

Leadership programmes

The NatWest accelerator programme

The free NatWest accelerator programme is for high growth businesses looking to expand, and is made up of 4 separate programmes:

  • High growth
  • Climate
  • FinTech
  • Purpose-led.

Each programme offers one-on-one coaching, thought leadership events, access to a network of like-minded business people, supported by NatWest Ecosystem managers, and access to business sector experts. You can also access co-working spaces in one of their nationwide hubs. This programme provides wraparound support and access to expertise to remove barriers, providing more opportunities to help customers grow.

Help to grow management course

This is an executive development programme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to boost their business performance and growth potential, accredited by the Small Business Charter. Small business leaders will develop their strategic skills to increase their business’s long-term productivity, resilience, and capacity to innovate.

  • Hybrid virtual / in-person programme; 50 hours over 12 weeks, designed to be manageable alongside full-time work
  • Participants will receive 10 hours of one-to-one support from a mentor to develop a business growth plan. The programme includes 8 hours of peer to peer learning and access to an alumni network
  • The course is 90% funded by government (valued at £7500); participants pay a fee of £750, 10% contribution towards the overall course cost
  • The course is delivered by a group of the UK’s leading business schools
  • You must employ between 5 to 249 employees and be a senior manager to take part in the programme. It is also restricted to one participant per business.

Training courses for the construction sector

CITB - Construction Industry Training Board

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) work with the construction industry to help attract talent and support the development of trade skills. They offer a wide range of specialist trade apprenticeships, training courses, and advice to help businesses.

CITB registered employers can also apply for CITB grants for approved short courses, which is training that lasts from a minimum of 3 hours to a maximum of 29 days.

Van Elle training and assessments

Van Elle have a purpose-built training facility in Kirkby in Ashfield, offering individual courses and specialist training to support workforce development within the construction sector.

If you are a CITB member, then you can access funding to undertake training at either no cost to yourself or at reduced prices. Van Elle deliver training in the following areas:

  • Plant – CPCS, NPORS
  • Civils – NRSWA
  • Construction equipment
  • Site safety
  • Vocational qualifications
  • Bespoke training courses.

Page last updated: 11 June 2024