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Business support and advice

Ongoing support and advice for businesses as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Recruitment, Training, Skills and Apprenticeships

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Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.

For more information check the guidance for employers.

Skills for Work

Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub have brought together information about support that can help you get a job, and if you are employed there is help for you to learn new skills. Over 50 organisations across the whole of Lancashire are working together to make it easy for you to find work and training.

There are 100s of offers across Lancashire here to help you learn new skills or to support your health and wellbeing.

For more information visit Skills for Work - Preston.

Lancashire Skills Swap

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership's Skills and Employment Hub has launched the Lancashire Skills Swap service to support the local business community during the coronavirus pandemic.

This unique service is dedicated to helping businesses who are looking for staff or volunteers, want to train their staff or want to offer people with knowledge and expertise to work for another business.

If you are a business and;

  • Need people, either staff or volunteers
  • Need to upskill your current staff
  • Want to offer your staff to work for or within another businesses, or offer your products or services to another business

It's simple, go to the Lancashire Skills Swap page and complete the registration form.

The details of your business' need or offer will be posted on the Lancashire Skills Swap noticeboard.

Businesses, individuals and support projects can then view the noticeboard and get directly in touch with you to swap skills.

Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub

The Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub offers support around skills and employment with help for your business with recruitment, apprentices, training and improving skills:

  • Skills Pledge - one place to find out more about employer facing skills and training initiatives. You only need to sign up and then a Pledge Partner who is an expert, will get in touch with you to help you to Pledge.  Pledging will give your business recognition for the things it does to upskill, recruit and inspire the people of Lancashire.
  • Recruitment - Free support to help you recruit and apprentices to fill your vacancies
  • Upskilling - Help to upskill your staff 
  • Free Training Needs Analysis 
  • Subsidised/funded training for your staff
  • Use apprenticeship training to develop your staff

More about the Skills Pledge

7 reasons why you should sign up to the Lancashire Skills Pledge

  1. Upskill and inspire the people of Lancashire
  2. Celebrate your organisation's contribution to upskilling and inspiring the people of Lancashire
  3. Raise your organisation's profile - receive free, positive publicity
  4. Independent recognition for your social value and Corporate Social Responsibility contribution
  5. Access funded support to train staff and employ local people
  6. Give your staff opportunities to develop new skills and give back to their community
  7. Hear first about new developments and opportunities

3 steps to register

  1. Visit the Lancashire Skills Pledge page and sign up by pledging to one, or more, of our seven Skills Pledges
  2. Complete the short form with business details
  3. Check and submit your details

You will be contacted by an expert who will confirm what you are already doing or support you to engage with a pledge.

Once engaged with one pledge or more you will become a Lancashire Skills Pledge Member and receive an electronic Lancashire Skills Pledge badge and certificate

You will be invited to one of the bi-annual Lancashire Skills Pledge Celebration events and your organisation will be promoted in regard to its engagement with the Lancashire Skills Pledge on social media, with a reach of 1000s of local people.


Apprenticeships, like businesses, come in all shapes and sizes and are suitable for anyone over 16 and all types of business. They can help you to grow your own talent, reduce staff turnover and give your business the skills it needs to succeed.

To find out how apprenticeships could work for your organisation visit How to employ an apprentice and funding help and Steps for Hiring an Apprentice

New Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices

The new Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices is a new online and telephone service for apprentices who have lost their jobs during the Covid-19 outbreak.  Apprentices can:

  • access local and national services for financial, legal, health and wellbeing support
  • find a new job
  • search and apply for other apprenticeship opportunities across the country

As part of the Government's Plan for Jobs, employers can up to 31 January 2021::

  • receive £2,000 for each new apprentice aged under 25 they hire
  • £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over
  • this includes taking on an apprentice who has been made redundant.
  • the new cash incentives for employers are in addition to the existing £1,000 payment for new 16-18 year-old apprentices, and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.
  • Employers who have apprenticeship opportunities and who are willing to take on a redundant apprentice are also being urged to sign up to the new service to advertise their vacancies.

Local guidance about apprenticeships

Training and skills

Train an apprentice

  • Are you looking to upskill your current workforce? Did you know that apprenticeship funding can be used for any age group and can also be used for your current teams? More information at: Train an apprentice 


  • A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year, though most traineeships last for less than 6 months.
  • Keep an eye out for more information from the Government about a  £111 million boost to triple the number of traineeships available across England - the largest-ever expansion of traineeships - to help make sure more 16-24 year olds have the skills, experience and confidence they need to enter the world of work.

Skills Support for the Workplace

The Skills Support for the Workplace offers fully funded training for you and your staff.

  • Analysis of current skills gaps in your business and bespoke learning plans to meet these skills gaps
  • Flexible delivery - programmes can be delivered at your business, at one of their training centres or across different sites

The Programmes:

  • Include coaching support to develop both vocational and soft skills
  • Can be used to develop basic skills in literacy and numeracy
  • Include specialist support for businesses going through restructures and where staff are at risk of redundancy
  • Can include employability skills to help individuals to find alternative employment

There are a range of accredited and non-accredited programmes to choose from at various levels covering qualifications and skills for people working in many different sectors from retail to advanced manufacturing.

And, some of the programmes only take a day or two to complete - meaning minimal impact on your business.

Skills Support for Redundancy Programme

During these challenging times for businesses the Skills Support for Redundancy programme is still available in Lancashire as part of Skills Support for the Workforce.

The programme is delivered by The Growth Company and their supply chain. 

The programme provides a fully funded tailored service for employers and can support employees at risk of redundancy or who have recently been made redundant (within the last 3 months) and can include subjects such as employability skills, CV developing, IT skills and interview skills.

Icon for pdf Skills Support for Redundancy Programme [368.4KB] 

The National Careers Service is also providing high quality impartial advice and guidance to more young people and adults who have been affected by coronavirus.

Upskilling Lancashire

The Upskilling Lancashire project can support you and your staff to increase skills. A member of the project team will visit you to discuss your business plans and objectives. They will support your businesses to identify, design, develop and implement work-force education and training programmes linked to the strategic needs of your business. The project will prepare the business to engage in the provision of a range of apprenticeships for current and future employees.

More information at: Upskilling Lancashire


  • EnginE provides dedicated support to advanced engineering and manufacturing SMEs, through free skills planning expertise, taster sessions, masterclasses and skills champions, so that you can see the impact skills can have in future proofing your business success and productivity. 

Digital Training

  • The Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership has details of digital training on its website. 
    • iDEA - The Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, known as iDEA is an international programme that helps you develop digital, enterprise and employability skills for free.

Let's get Digital this September and October 2021

The Embrace Digital programme is a series of webinars, workshops and 1:1 support to help businesses decide which digital software can support their future resilience and growth.  The programme covers digital productivity tools, digital marketing, cloud accounting and e commerce, and is fully funded for Lancashire businesses by Lancashire County Council.

Intro Webinars

7th September 10am-11am

Intro to Digital Marketing Tools

Join Lancashire agency KW Digital for a one hour webinar to learn about the different digital marketing channels and which are the best fit for your business. This webinar is fully funded for Lancashire businesses by Lancashire County Council, with 1:1 support and follow-on workshops available to further explore the digital marketing channels and tools that best suit your business needs.

Book here:

8th September 10am-11am

Get Started with Selling Online

Thinking about setting up an online shop but not sure where to start? This one-hour webinar with e commerce experts Door4 will explore how to get started with selling online, from an overview of the platforms available to what you need to know to set up successfully. This webinar is fully funded for Lancashire businesses by Lancashire County Council, with 1:1 support and follow-on workshops available to further explore platforms such as Shopify, Etsy, EKM, Amazon and WooCommerce.

Book here:

8th September 2pm-3pm

Digital Productivity for Businesses

Join productivity experts DigiEnable for a one hour webinar exploring digital productivity tools, tips and advice. This webinar is fully funded for Lancashire businesses by Lancashire County Council, with 1:1 support and follow-on workshops available to help your business get started with digital project management tools, Zoom, Office 365 and Google Workspace (G Suite).

9th September 10am-11am

Intro to Cloud Accounting

Considered using a cloud accounting platform but not sure where to start? This one hour webinar will give an overview of cloud accounting solutions and the benefits to your business. There will be further 1:1 support available for attendees to decide which platform is the best fit, and register for "deep dive" workshops on Xero, QuickBooks and Sage. This webinar is fully funded for Lancashire businesses by Lancashire County Council.

Join one or more of the intro webinars to get started, or see the full list of events here:

HR and employee relations

  • ACAS - the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service offers free guidance on HR issues and employee relations. Employers can access free confidential advice on the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1190.

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