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Cornwall ahead of the game with tailored training

Cornwall is leading the way in the South West with a project designed to offer training that is specially tailored to the needs of businesses.

The Cornwall Workforce Development Group project is a far reaching project involving 46 public and private sector partners aiming to improve the skills of the local workforce.

The £1.6 million project has received investment from the Objective One European Social Fund via the Learning and Skills Council co financing plan.

Geoff Hale, Chair of the Workforce Development Group, said: "This training model supporting both business sectors and business learning clusters is unique to Cornwall. It has stimulated a lot of thinking about how best to promote training in the workplace and has achieved great results."

The project supports the development of 11 key sectors – industries that are particularly important to Cornwall. Each sector can then decide what training is needed to give the workforce the necessary skills. These sectors are marine, food and drink, tourism, health and care, ICT, creative industries, construction, environmental, early years/childcare/playwork, engineering and retail.

Each sector has drawn up a training plan for sector development which is then put into operation in partnership with colleges. The sectors are also planning "new pathways" training to develop skills in up and coming industries. For instance, the construction sector is planning training in renewable energy offered via the Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust.

Cornwall Marine Network (CMN) has been running its own sector. Paul Wickes, CMN Training Director, said: "Through this project CMN has been able to draft a skills action plan for the Cornwall marine sector and create a team of work-based assessors who will underpin the achievement of new Boat Building NVQs, ensuring the best deal for learners and employers.

"20 people have already signed up for a new Management qualification and a package of short-course support for marine micro-businesses, including a wage subsidy, has been developed. A new apprenticeship scheme for boat building has seen a dramatic uptake in new apprentices from micro-businesses."

Gail Pearson, Economic Development Co-ordinator for Cornwall Partners In Care, explained how the independent care sector has some 11,000 employees, and is one of the largest employers in Cornwall.

"Objective One investment was gained in May/June 2006 to create a representative organisation for independent care providers in Cornwall. This sector organisation officially launched on March 1st this year (2007) and is called Cornwall Partners In Care (CPIC). It has been acknowledged as being THE representative body of care providers in Cornwall and is involved closely with colleagues in the local authority and health in the commissioning and provision of care services across the county."

Six business clusters are also being developed so that more training opportunities can be offered across Cornwall. Mr Hale explained: "We all understand that training is more effective the closer it is to the workplace. For instance, the St Austell cluster is based at Teddington Controls, a small engineering company on the Holmbush Industrial Estate. This has public, private, college and trade union support and also attracts learners from the local community. The Centre is run by Cornwall College's Learning Shop and has proved to be one of the most successful in the county."

The work now going on to promote skills shows that Cornwall is serious about training. Higher skills will mean more profitable businesses, better quality work and, eventually, higher wages.

For further information please contact Clare Morgan, Media Relations Manager for the Objective One Partnership. Tel: 01872 223439/07973 813647. Email:

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Cornwall Workforce Development Group project through the European Social Fund (ESF).


Editor's notes:

Cornwall Workforce Development Group is a sub group of Cornwall Economic Forum and Cornwall Learning Partnership. Partners include the TUC, Cornwall, Bodmin, Penwith and Truro Colleges, Cornwall County Council, the Learning and Skills Council, Cornwall Marine Network, Callington School, Amicus, Teddington Controls, British Telecom, the Communication Workers' Union, CPR Regeneration, DMT Business Services Ltd, Ultra, Focus, Digital Peninsula Network, Food and Drink Skills Forum, Social Care Partnership, Wired Cornwall, Arts Centre Trust, Constructive Cornwall, Environment Kernow, Pre-School Learning Alliance and Cornwall Engineering Group.


Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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