Funded skills training is supporting women in business to progress to the next level

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Over 6,000 female learners have now taken advantage of funded skills training to upskill, reskill and progress within their workplace.

The training is delivered as part of the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) programme, which Serco is managing across 16 regions in England, including Coventry and Warwickshire and Worcestershire. Serco works in partnership with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to provide bespoke skills development that focuses on upskilling employees in key priority sectors.

How could your business benefit?

SSW provides recognised, accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses to enhance employees’ skills and increase the competitiveness of businesses to help boost the local economy.

Coventry and Warwickshire and Worcestershire based businesses are being urged to take advantage of a £6m skills training fund. Employers who have already engaged with the SSW programme have typically seen benefits including:

  • Increased in-house efficiencies and productivity levels
  • The development of a highly skilled workforce, delivering better quality outputs
  • Improved business performance to gain a competitive edge
  • Being considered an ‘Employer of Choice’ for new recruits, reducing recruitment costs
  • Creating a valued and empowered workforce, demonstrated by improved staff satisfaction and decreased turnover

Esmie’s: Boosting Productivity Through Customer Service Training

PET-Xi is an expert training organisation chosen to deliver the SSW programme in Coventry and Warwickshire on behalf of Serco. PET-Xi worked closely with Esmie’s Caribbean Kitchen to deliver fully funded vocational training which was tailored to the needs of both individual employees and the business.

Esmie’s is a family-run restaurant. Having grown from street-food beginnings, the successful business had undergone a restructure and has a new brand profile. This change has provided scope for the front of house team to benefit from further training in Customer Services. Through PET-Xi, SSW delivered training that was flexible, allowing the learners to select either full qualifications or mix and match individual units relevant to their work. Esmie’s management team wanted to improve the personal development of the team as a means to boost overall productivity, making it a great fit for the programme.

Five of the business’ employees completed an NVQ Level 2 in Customer Service. This qualification provides learners with the knowledge and understanding to deal with a variety of Customers and is a transferable skill within a variety of work environments. The accredited qualifications that were attained by different members of the team, included:

  • NVQ Level 2 in Customer Service
  • NVQ Level 2 in IT Training
  • NVQ Level 2 in Team Leadership

Julia works as a waitress at Esmie’s. She enrolled on the programme to improve her knowledge on how to enhance the Customer’s experience. Reflecting on her training, Julia said:

“I have progressed and gained better understanding of customer service and developed skills in handling customer problems and working effectively as a team. I now understand the importance of applying interpersonal skills within the team to improve our effectiveness and productivity.” Julie, Waitress Esmie’s Caribbean Kitchen

“In the current financial climate, employee development training like the Skills Support for the Workforce programme is invaluable in helping businesses to flourish and grow. Skills growth is supporting employees not only to stay in secure employment but also to progress, by gaining more responsibility and improving their earning potential.” Fleur Sexton, Managing Director, PET-Xi

Get involved – How could upskilling improve your workforce?

The SSW team are especially keen to hear from businesses and employees operating in key priority sectors in your region, which include: Construction, Education, Retail, Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering, Agri Tech, Cyber and IT.



The SSW programme is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Serco has partnered with expert training organisations, who know the local business landscape, to offer both accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses.