Pilot launched to give HR support to SMEs

A new pilot initiative has been launched which aims to help unlock small business productivity and growth through the provision of HR and skills development support to businesses.

The People Skills programme has been developed by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development and is being piloted in three areas across the UK – Hackney in London, Stoke-on-Trent and Glasgow.

The programme is being delivered in close collaboration with local partners in each of the pilot areas, and will be embedded into their existing local business, skills and employment infrastructure for easy access by local businesses. During its pilot phase, the People Skills programme will be available for free to small businesses (SMEs) and will provide them with HR support including 1-2-1 guidance from experienced HR professionals who will work alongside businesses, a telephone helpline to discuss employment and skills issues, online information and practical templates to help businesses save time when developing new employment processes and local networking and group training events delivered on related people management and skills development topics.

The programme aims to support SMEs in building their leadership and management/HR capability. It will also encourage SMEs to invest in young people through work experience/apprenticeships, investment in training and building links with local schools and colleges.

Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, said: “Boosting productivity and giving young people the skills they need to get on in life are key priorities for the Government. We are also committed to making advice and support more easily available to our small businesses, so we welcome this scheme on both fronts.”

CIPD Chief Executive Peter Cheese added: “The puzzle of the UK’s stagnant productivity performance has many components, but one crucial aspect that needs to be examined is how to help the UK’s small businesses raise their ambitions, boost their investment in people and make better use of skills in the workplace. Our People Skills programme is designed to help address this challenge, providing support where it’s needed to boost people management capability and ultimately performance and growth potential.

The initiative is supported by J.P. Morgan through the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

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