As unemployment spirals towards two million (1.92 million), the Learning and Skills Council is urging employers to take advantage of a leadership training fund to protect themselves and staff from redundancy in the tough times ahead.

The Learning and Skills Council’s (LSC) Train to Gain service has dedicated a pot of money for leaders and managers to improve their skills. Now, more Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from it, including the most vulnerable companies with just five to 10 workers.

Chris Banks, chair of the LSC said: “These are clearly turbulent times. No one can be in any doubt as to the global impact of the credit crunch. It is on our doorsteps and UK businesses are clearly suffering.

“We need to insulate against this wherever possible and so I urge companies to take advantage of money designed to pay for good quality leadership skills that will help managers and leaders to steer their organisations through these very difficult times.

“Employers need to proactively do their best to shore up against this situation.”

The Leadership and Management programme was set up to help employers with between 10 and 250 employees, offering key directors and managers the skills needed to grow their business. The Government demonstrated its commitment to the programme by increasing its investment in 2007 from £4 million to £30 million. 

John Hardcastle, Managing Director at Allan Webb, a leading supplier of technical and documentation services, recently signed up to leadership and management training:

“We needed some specific training at management level to help us invigorate our processes – especially timely in the current climate. The leadership and management funding offered through Train to Gain fitted the bill perfectly. What was even better was that we found we could organise the training to specifically suit our requirements and that we could carry it out at our offices, when it suited us.”

Businesses which sign-up will receive a visit from an expert Train to Gain skills broker who will carry out a complimentary and impartial skills diagnosis for the individual to develop a personal action plan and help find appropriate training courses – ranging from formal training, where managers work towards specific qualifications, to informal training, such as coaching and mentoring.

 Employers keen to find out more should call 0800 015 55 45 or can visit Train to Gain.