Over 60 local stakeholders, businesses and VIPs gathered at York Race Course to hear how a European funded action research project will help improve small business productivity and survival in the Yorkshire and Humber Region.
Guest Speaker, Simon Hill, Executive Director Business Development for Yorkshire Forward, welcomed the project. He told delegates that learning is a major issue for the regional economy and that in order to combat future competition from abroad - in particular from China and India - the workforce needs training. This will enable Yorkshire and the Humber to compete successfully on quality and technology.
However, in order to train their staff, small and micro firms (SMFs) need to allow for time spent away from the office, travel and accommodation costs and disruptions to the day-to-day work routine of the business. These are all barriers to learning that the e-learn2work project aims to eliminate.
From their offices at York Science Park, Knowledge Base (UK) Ltd, the project leader, and their partners will be carrying out an extensive research programme in order to gain a better understanding of what SMFs are looking for when they consider training courses for their staff. Once the research is complete, the project aims to identify the types of e-learning material that might interest them.
'The link between knowledge, innovation and competitive advantage is the key focus of the work of the Yorkshire Forward Business directorate', said Simon Hill. 'The e-learn2work project is completely aligned with this approach and will help the Region achieve its economic objectives. It will help provide suitable customised staff training to take place at a convenient time and place.'
Although e-learn2work has a regional focus, it is also important nationally for organisations such as the Learning and Skills Council, Sector Skills Councils and Ufi/learndirect. The project's transnational dimension will be working with organisations across Europe and this will allow the UK to compare research findings with other European countries who are addressing similar issues.
Photo: Speakers and project partners at the e-learn2work briefing event at York Race Course. Front Row (L-R) Anthony Burgess, Jacqueline Hall, Paul Jagger Middle Row (L-R) Hilary Shockett, Teresa Williams, Simon Hill, Anthony Busk, Tony Cherry, Chris Baxter Back Row (L-R) John Esser, Rod Knox, Roy Smith')