Skip to sub navigation Skip to main content

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 them 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 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 small and medium size SMEs within: 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.

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 also 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 will 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 also provides bespoke training programmes to local businesses, to upskill your workforce, support their continued professional development and plug any skill gaps.

This programme is free and is being delivered by Nottingham Trent University. The website will show you what skills courses are currently available, however if your businesses needs specific skills to become more competitive, then please get in touch with the Enterprising Ashfield Skills team at, as they may be able to tailor specific courses just for you.


Multiply is a new government-funded programme to help adults improve their numeracy skills.

You're aged 19 and over and don’t have maths GCSE at grade C (or equivalent), you can access free numeracy courses through Multiply, to build your confidence with numbers and gain a qualification.

Skills Bootcamps

Skills Bootcamps are free flexible courses of up to 16 weeks for people looking for a new role or job opportunity. If you’re self-employed, you’ll be able to use the training to seek new opportunities for your business.

There are fully funded courses available in many business sectors including:

  • Business administration
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Green skills
  • Digital skills
  • HGV driving
  • Hospitality.

Visit Skills Bootcamps website and find the right course to help you set up your business:

NatWest business builder workshops

The business builder workshops are free, to help you to up-skill and network with other like minded business owners. There are 10 workshops which have been designed to support you with developing your business in a post-COVID world, allowing you to test new thoughts and ideas, 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 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 wrap around support and access to expertise to remove barriers, providing more opportunities to help customers grow.

STEM Women in leadership

This is an European Social Fund (ESF) part-funded course, designed specifically for employees of businesses operating in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics sectors (STEM), or for those that would like to work in the area. Set at level 7, the course was designed by experts working in Nottingham Trent University's Medical Technologies Innovation Facility (MTIF) and delivered by Nottingham Business School. The course is suitable for women in management roles or working towards leadership and management roles.

Nottingham Trent University also offers several other STEM related courses:

Help to grow management course

This is an executive development programme to support small and medium enterprises 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 90% funded by government (the course is 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 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 (training that lasts from a minimum of 3 hours to maximum 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 CIBT member than you can access funding's to undertake training at either no cost to yourself or at reduced prices.

They deliver training in the following areas:

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

Page last updated: 22 November 2023