Training and upskilling for businesses

Calling West Suffolk businesses – have your say on the Norfolk and Suffolk Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP)

The Norfolk and the Suffolk Chambers of Commerce are working with the Department for Education (DfE) to put employers at the heart of the skills agenda with the launch of the Norfolk and Suffolk Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), and they want businesses to have a bigger say in what skills are needed in the workplace for today, tomorrow and the future.

What will the Norfolk and Suffolk LSIP focus on?

The chambers are aware that across Norfolk and Suffolk there are some great initiatives – but the majority are operating in silos and many employers are not aware of them – we see the LSIP's role is being to support the alignment of this skills activity. We are not wanting to re-invent the wheel and we are aiming to join some of the dots. In other words, how do we enhance what is working well and how do we fill any gaps?

Key sectors and cross cutting themes

We need to concentrate on a couple of key areas for Norfolk and Suffolk and to run cross-cutting themes of workforce digital skills and soft skills. Given the timescales, Norfolk and Suffolk Chambers want to focus on some key sectors where significant impacts can be made quickly, so are looking at a focus in the following areas: agri-tech, food processing sector and climate adaptation, net zero. The chambers have selected these key areas mainly due to the amount of work that has already happened across Norfolk and Suffolk and also as they tie in nicely with work already underway at many of the education providers – so hopefully this means we can enhance what is already happening in our region.

Have your say and get involved

Complete the survey: Norfolk Chambers of Commerce - Norfolk and Suffolk LSIP

Register for one of the roadshow events at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce - LSIP Roadshow Bury St Edmunds,& or& view all the events at Norfolk Chambers of Commerce - Norfolk and Suffolk LSIP Roadshow

Skills Bootcamps

Skills Bootcamps are part of the Government's Lifetime Skills Guarantee strategy. Their aim is to:

  • aid businesses to hire people with the skills required, help fill their skills vacancies
  • support individuals who are currently un-employed or returning to work access funded course to develop skills and assist them to find local work
  • provide the self-employed to gain additional skills to help them develop and grow their business
  • provide businesses with targeted training to develop and progress their own employees within the business

Eligibility - the learner:

  • Adults 19 + who are full time employed, part-time employed, unemployed, returning to work or self-employed.
  • If the learner is unemployed or self-employed the course is fully funded.
  • If employed - the learner must be directly employed by the employer and not be a sub-contractor or freelancer.

Eligibility - the employer:

  • Any employer based in East Anglia can access the funding regardless of size. There are two bands of employer contributions:
  • small to medium enterprises (defined as an employer with less than 250 employees) - 10 per cent.
  • larger than 250 employees - 30 per cent.


New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP) have appointed eight providers to deliver the programmes outlines below. The sectors have been determined from research the New Anglia LEP region where vacancies are currently not getting filled due to a lack of skilled staff. Each provider has their own delivery method which includes remote, online, face to face and classroom based. Further details are available on delivery, duration and so on.


  • Unemployed learners - on completion of their course support will be provided to offer them an interview with a local employer who is recruiting
  • Employed learners - the employer must be able to evidence that within a 6-month period the learner has either taken on more responsibilities within the workplace or been promoted.

Find out more at: New Anglia - Skills bootcamps or contact Bev Wallman, Skills Broker, 07384 113189 or

Pathways Training Fund (PTF) - improving the skills of your workforce by training your employees

The Pathways Training Fund (PTF) provides grants to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and social enterprises (including community interest companies) in Norfolk and Suffolk. It is funded by the European Social Fund in partnership with Suffolk and Norfolk county councils and a network of local training providers. The employer-led training is flexible. It aims to help firms adapt to the changing nature of work and be more agile and competitive.

The scheme will fund up to 75 per cent of staff training costs for multiple employees with maximum grants of £500 per employee or £3,000 per employer:

  • Whole qualifications, modules or units
  • Accredited or non-accredited courses
  • Courses running until September 2023.

How can we help?

With this funding firms can access training courses for their employees from the network of local colleges and universities or find their own registered training providers further afield. You can use this funding towards any of our accredited qualifications, short courses or training sessions in:

  • Digital Skills and Industry 4.0
  • Leadership, Management, Project Management and Mentoring
  • Customer Service and Client Relationship Management
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Innovation for new ways of working, products, services and Net Zero.

How do I apply?

Simply visit Pathways Training Fund for a copy of the guidance, a prospectus and an eligibility form or email Suffolk County Council at

Pathways 50+

Working in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils and part funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), Futures for Business has launched Pathways 50+, a programme supporting local SMEs as well as individuals aged 50+ looking for quality paid work placements.

Employers based in Norfolk or Suffolk can access a grant worth £1,950 to support the recruitment of a person aged 50+ with the creation of a work placement.

Pathways 50+ can help organise to grow and create jobs in the current economic climate and address challenges faced by diminishing resources and access to a section of the working age population able to offer a rich blend of work-readiness, stability and experience.

The Pathways 50+ team will provide a free recruitment service, enabling organisations to dip into a talent pool of candidates aged 50+ who are actively seeking work.

The £1,950 grant will help support a paid work placement.

The placement must:

  • consist of no fewer than 25 hours per week (it can exceed this)
  • have a total duration of at least 13 weeks (duration can be longer or permanent)
  • pay an hourly rate of at least the National Living Wage.

Pathways 50+ is a safe, effective and economical way for businesses to address and fill areas of skills shortages. Employers can try out a 13-week placement before deciding to continue on a permanent basis.

Find out more at

Get tailored skills advice from the Growth Hub

A number of skill development and recruitment programmes are available to employers through the Government’s Plan for Jobs - kickstart, traineeships, apprenticeships, SWAPs, skills bootcamps and more. There are also funded training courses available locally which your business could benefit from. The Growth Hub skills advisers can work with you to look at the requirements you have and the skills your business needs to grow. They will then discuss the options and help you to access the training you need now and in the future. To start your skills conversation, contact the Growth Hub at Please also see the New Anglia Growth Hub - Skills Portal

West Suffolk College logoWest Suffolk College - employers

The college collaborates on the development and delivery of all levels of education and training through apprenticeships, professional short courses (which include ILM management training and gas and oil training and assessment), traineeships and supported internships.

West Suffolk College - employers

Supply Chain Skills Development Fund

The Supply Chain Skills Development Fund (SCSDF), funded by the European Social Fund, offers small and medium sized enterprises within Norfolk and Suffolk a flexible fund for training. It aims to benefit both individual employees and local employers. The SCSDF will help employers to identify skills gaps within the organisation to increase competitiveness and explore opportunities.

Grants are available to:

  • SME employers to be used to pay for a proportion of the costs of training, learning opportunities, services that will help their employees develop additional competencies and capabilities
  • SME employers and local training providers to enhance, develop and deliver regional training.

To learn more about this funding please contact

Help to Grow courses

There are two Government-backed Help to Grow courses, one on management and the other on digital, that are heavily subsidised and discounts are also available on software costs.

Find out more at Help to Grow - Take your business to the next level

In-Career Education and Training (ICET)

ICET supports small and medium enterprises to access high quality, immersive digital and professional leadership training. A key element of the ICET project is to promote the progression of women in business and digital arenas. SMEs that register and apply to the ICET project, can request 50 per cent of funding towards high level, immersive courses.

Find out more at ICET Project

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce People and Skills Group

Reflecting the growing importance of the 'human element' in securing the county's long-term sustainable prosperity, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has a People and Skills Group (PSG).

For more information on this group, please visit Suffolk Chamber