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Support for businesses to develop their workforce, and individuals their skills

The last few years have been one of the most challenging economic climates for all of our businesses and alongside the economic headwinds, Cumbria has faced additional challenges due to our declining working age population, which has resulted in real labour and skills shortages.

Currently, there are 6,000 vacancies in the county, with many businesses experiencing issues in recruiting and retaining staff meaning that training and developing staff has never been more important. That’s where the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) Skills Bootcamp programme, which is part of its Lifetime Skills Guarantee, can help.

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP), the local lead for the Programme, has teamed up with various delivery partners to offer a range of Skills Bootcamps that deliver the skills required by many of our businesses. These include Project Management, Logistics Management CPC, Automation & Robotics, Construction Trades, Welding, CAD, Cyber Security, Agriculture and Visitor Economy.

Skills Bootcamps provide Cumbrian businesses with the opportunity to upskill their existing workforce, which will help them to take on new roles and responsibilities. Recent research shows that opportunities to develop and progress within the company is important in retaining staff. Those not currently in the labour force can also benefit from the programme as they can book onto a Skills Bootcamp, free of charge, and be guaranteed a job interview as part of the programme.

One of the benefit of Skills Bootcamps is its flexibility, with the programme delivered in a maximum of 16 weeks and providing both employees and those looking to return to the labour market with the sector-specific skills needed in Cumbria’s businesses. The other major benefit is that SMEs are only required to meet 10% of the costs, with larger businesses required to pay 30%, providing an opportunity to train the workforce at a highly subsidised rate.

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive at the Cumbria LEP said “Skills Bootcamps provide an excellent opportunity to help our businesses to develop their workforce, which we know is important in retaining talent. In Cumbria we are keen to improve productivity and innovation and a well skilled workforce is critical to achieving this.”

“Our labour market is currently extremely ‘tight’ and by providing development opportunities businesses can give themselves a competitive advantage. Skills Bootcamps are an affordable way to invest in your workforce, support their development and improve the performance of your company. This is a great opportunity that I would strongly encourage our businesses to take up as the current programme needs to be completed by 31 March 2023.”

She added “I would also encourage those that are not currently working to look at Skills Bootcamps as a way to upskill themselves and receive a guaranteed job interview with an employer.”

For further information visit or contact Amanda Wharton (Skills Bootcamps Programme Manager) at, or call 07920 877644.

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