Business support and advice
Support and advice for businesses affected by COVID-19.

Recruitment, Training and Apprenticeships

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Kickstart Scheme

As part of the government's Plan for Jobs, a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme aims to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country.

6 month placements are open to those aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment.

These will be available across a range of different sectors in England, Scotland and Wales. The first placements are likely to be available from November 2020.

There will also be extra funding to support young people to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart funded job.

Employers will receive funding for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions.

Applications are being accepted now from employers or groups of employers - check the guidance for employers.

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

The following information gives details how you and your staff can increase skills in the workplace.

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.

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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