Skills and workforce development > Workforce for the Future

To keep ahead of the competition, your businesses need to adapt and evolve - and so does your workforce. Your employees need to be equipped with new skills, knowledge and experience to enable your business to thrive. 

Our Workforce for the Future programme is a skills analysis and development programme for SMEs. We can help your business identify employee development areas, plan and adapt for the future, upskill and retrain employees and help access new talent to drive your business forwards.


Sign up today

It's free to join and is available to SMEs with less than 250 employees based in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset). 

Register your details today and we'll be in touch to discuss your requirements.

European Social Fund

The project has received £4m of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

Bespoke support

We'll match you with 1 or more of our key partners to review and build the current skillsets of your employees. You'll get technical skills, recruitment and training strategies and action plans so your business can deliver its strategic ambitions with a strong, resilient and adaptable workforce. We’ll also give you access to funding to train and upskill your employees.

You can access our combined employer-focused talent recruitment and management capabilities too. We'll help you hire new, sufficiently skilled staff as well as create your own talent pipeline and train the next level of managers and leaders to aid retention in your business.

Workforce for the Future will help your business:

  • Develop a more motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.
  • Attract new talent, improve staff retention and develop future leaders.
  • Capture the financial benefits of improved performance and elevated productivity.
  • Boost business resilience and flexibility to overcome future challenges.
  • Increase diversity and inclusivity in your workforce.
  • Safeguard jobs and support employees through change.

What will I get?

  • You’ll receive support over three years from our partners to ensure your business can interrogate ongoing skills needs, unlock opportunities, drive change and invest in your current and future workforce.
  • Confidence in safeguarding jobs, reimagining your existing workforce and recruiting sufficiently skilled employees from local pools of talent.
  • The latest approaches to open and inclusive recruitment so you can reduce your skills gaps and improve connectivity with the local skills system.
  • Access to an experienced Skills Adviser who will help you develop your workforce.
  • A Workforce Development Plan and strategy to put into place.
  • Access a suite of online tools, resources and workshops.
  • Funding for skills training programmes.
  • Strategic planning and change management guidance.
  • Support with apprenticeships and student placements.

We'll deliver:

1. Workforce development planning

  • Workforce for the Future will help you to create a workforce development plan to make sure your business is fit for the future. With the support of an experienced Skills Adviser, you will:
    • Develop and implement a Workforce Development Plan
    • Better understand your business' current, new and emerging skills needs
    • Identify relevant skills support, programmes or training options
    • Access a suite of online tools, resources and workshops

2. Access to training and skills development

  • Workforce for the Future will support you to identify and implement staff training, such as increasing digital skills to meet changing business needs. Through the programme you will bring new skills to your business by:
    • Building your understanding of the training options for your staff
    • Accessing the right training & support to upskill or reskill your employees
    • Joining a support network to share and learn from best practice

3. Access to resource

  • Secure the right resource for your business - such as an apprentice, intern, or work placement. Workforce for the Future can help you:
    • Identify where an apprenticeship or placement could be created
    • Access financial support to fund the role
    • Prepare for the role and recruit the right candidate.

4. Talent retention

  • Consider the options available to you to help you address business requirements such as reducing costs, whilst:
    • Retaining and developing talent within your business
    • Safeguarding jobs and supporting your employees through any changes.

5. Education and skills programmes

  • Workforce for the Future will provide education and training providers with insight on the skills and knowledge SMEs will need for the future. Engaging with education providers means your business can benefit from:
    • Influencing training programmes and curricula to develop future talent.
    • Access to a pool of placement-ready students with ongoing support provided by their FE College placement teams.
    • Engagement with potential future employees, building the profile of your business with the region’s school and college students.

Our expert partners

Our West of England Growth Hub team will work with you to understand your business requirements, and you will then be connected to one of our expert partners depending on the support you need. You will be able to work with more than one of our partners.

Workforce for the Future service providers are: