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£4.3m Project Supporting Business Growth in North Wales Gets Off to Flying Start

A multi-million pound project supporting business growth across the region has got off to a flying start.

North Wales Business Academy – a £4.3 million collaboration between Wrexham Glyndwr University, Bangor University, Grwp Llandrillo Menai and Coleg Cambria – was launched six months ago and is already educating dozens of professionals across the region.

Backed by the European Social Fund (ESF), the further and higher education institutions joined forces to supply modules on a wide range of industry topics, from sales and social media to strategic thinking and digital futures, as well as offering mentoring and advice.

Andrea Hall, NWBA Business Development Associate, said the three-year initiative is building momentum and gathering interest from different arenas.

Andrea (picture front, centre) pointed to the people management sessions as an example of how the Academy is supporting and building the skillsets of members, including representatives from companies such as Direct Line Communications, AVOW, UCML, Coveris, Unimaq and Hadlow Edwards.

“The Academy has enjoyed a good start, the aim now is to spread the word even further,” she said.

“We are supporting growth and competiveness in an increasingly tough environment, so the question isn’t whether companies and individuals in business should join us, the question is when.”

The programme was announced in the autumn by Welsh Government Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford, with the aim of delivering university-accredited management qualifications to more than 1,000 employees over the next three years.
Professor Chris Jones, Head of North Wales Business School at Wrexham Glyndwr, said the project will make a difference to the local economy.

“All four partners recognise the paramount importance of qualifications, and we all agree that to create a positive legacy for the region, knowledge and skills must be utilised.”

He added: “We are offering the unique opportunity for every business in North Wales to get the up-skilling their company needs to grow, not as part of a rigid programme of learning, half of which may be irrelevant to them.”

The Academy is aimed for all private sector companies with growth ambition and particularly key sectors, including advanced manufacturing, tourism and outdoor activities, the food and drinks industry and energy sector.

Supported by £2.8 million of EU funds, the scheme will enable employers to access subsidies of up to 70% for training and staff development opportunities in areas including financial management, sales and marketing, business strategy, governance and operational skills and management.

Among its successful programmes is the North Wales Young Talent Academy, which aims to boost skills and succession planning in the workplace. Learners will achieve a tailored Level 4 qualification, celebrated at an award ceremony this summer.

Iwan Thomas, regional skills and employment coordinator for the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, says the NWBA can have a major influence on the future of business training.

“Having a collaborative approach amongst providers further demonstrates how working as part of a ‘Team North Wales’ approach, our collective vision for a confident, cohesive region with sustainable economic growth, capitalising on the success of high value economic sectors and its connection to the economies of the Northern Powerhouse and Ireland can move closer towards becoming a reality,” he said.

For more information on the project, visit www.glyndwr.ac.uk. Follow @NWBizAcademy on Twitter or email andrea.hall@glyndwr.ac.uk

For more on the North Wales Young Talent Academy, call Gaenor Roberts or Rachel Allen on 01978 293375 or email gaenor.roberts@glyndwr.ac.uk

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