This week, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority will be attending the Bradford Means Business Awards 2022, where they will be open to talking to businesses in the region about their skills needs and how they can help them through the successful Skills for Growth service.

Over 959 businesses from across the West Yorkshire region have already utilised the services of Skills for Growth, a free programme which is being delivered by West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP). 

Skills for Growth connects small and medium-sized business owners from all sectors in West Yorkshire, Harrogate, York, Craven and Selby with local schools, colleges and universities to build talent pipelines, increase productivity, help young talent thrive and close skills gaps across the region. 

As a result of the Skills for Growth programme, the Combined Authority and the LEP has generated over 1,450 referrals to either access support from its partners or to work with education providers to find suitable candidates for entry level positions. 

Simon Benson, manager at CI Adventures Ltd used Skills for Growth to meet new talent for Adventure Activity Instructor vacancies. On using the free programme, Simon said: “In these difficult recruitment times Skills for Growth opened up new avenues to organisations and individuals that as a small business hadn’t been previously available. Our Business Partnership Adviser regularly got our offering noticed and publicised.”

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Skills for Growth aims to help everyone involved in the programme; the SMEs to actively develop the young talent that they need to grow, the education providers to prepare and upskill their students for specific career opportunities, and the local economy to help reduce skills gaps in key sectors. 

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire said: "Skills for Growth is a fantastic programme to help both businesses and young people thrive in what has been a difficult period for employment.

"Supporting over 959 businesses is a huge achievement, and I’m delighted that not only have we helped businesses with closing skills gaps, but we’ve also offered the region's young people unique opportunities to gain work experience, qualifications and careers.”

The free programme from West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership is part-funded by the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. To learn more about how your business could benefit from the programme, visit to arrange a call with your local Business Partnership Adviser.

For more information on Skills for Growth, please contact: