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ESF Business Clusters project

Driven by industry groups, the ESF Business Clusters project will bring employers and providers together to innovate training and skills provision so that it better meets the needs of the local economy.

Designed to support business growth, the project will focus on developing skills and increasing relevance of training programmes for industries and sectors vital to the local economy and listed as priorities by the C&IoS Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Specific sector-focussed activities will be delivered in addition to cross-sectoral skills development.



Throughout the project there will be a focus on driving productivity improvements in businesses through increased suitability and relevance of skills provision available in C&IoS. Development of skills provision will help individuals to gain skills and qualifications relevant to the needs of local businesses, supporting growth gains for the economy.

Truro and Penwith College is the lead partner in this £6.8m project and has engaged seven sector lead partners to review and revise the local training offer in line with industry requirements.

Truro and Penwith College’s delivery partners for the ESF Business Clusters project partners are Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Cornwall Council, Cornwall Marine Network, Digital Peninsula Network, Kernow Health CIC, Software Cornwall and The Cornwall College Group.

The partnership will co-ordinate the co-design, development and trialling of a broad spectrum of skills and training for sectors/collectives and in-company skills development for SMEs/micros.

Project Activities

Delivery partners will use their experience and knowledge of their sector, combined with extensive employer networks to ensure project activities meet the needs of the businesses they support and are employer led; however, three key themes have been identified at the outset for the project.

CMN Role

Marine, Engineering & Manufacturing, Construction and retail – including cross cutting elements such as lean & productivity, with indirect support for energy, mining, aerospace, space.

Cornwall Marine Network Ltd, Cornwall Manufacturers Group and Cornwall Construction Strategy Group (Cornwall Council) will collaborate through Business Clusters on a sub-project focused on lean principles and productivity improvements.

Through the project they will:

  • Engage with small business owner-managers to identify solutions to problem solving and productivity improvements and barriers to skills training delivery and suitability of content;
  • Work with employers to develop new content for workforce skills, particularly in niche areas where existing provision does not meet employer needs and / or is not available locally;
  • Create programmes for lean construction and lean management based on knowledge of existing need;
  • Develop the skills of SME owner-managers to improve productivity and enable business growth and sustainability;
  • Develop curriculum as well as wider training, knowledge transfer, workshop delivery will also be informed by research undertaken on the skills and training gaps coupled with the projected future demand in specific sub-sectors. For example, a. CMN’s research report into the future skills and training needs of the marine and offshore renewables industry; b. Construction research showing huge demand for professional services skills, digital skills and the transformational nature of a cross-business, enhanced business skills programme.
  • Invite businesses to inform how future funding and flexible models can reduce barriers to training delivery – and be involved in the testing of new and innovative approaches all of which will be business led.
  • Build content and relevance of Building Cornwall brand and website to house links to skills provision, to providers, to career information and sector data.

Business Clusters will further enhance the services that CMN and partners can offer businesses, strengthen the successful Skills Brokerage model and ensure we are providing business led support

Contact the CMN team now to find out more

The European Social Fund (ESF) Operational Programme is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme for England in 2014-2020. It will deliver the Programme’s priorities to increase labour market participation, promote social inclusion and develop the skills of the potential and existing workforce. It will incorporate Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) money for areas with very high rates of youth unemployment.

For more information Click Here.



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