Last updated: 15.01.14

West Midlands firms to prioritise staff training

2014 is set to be a strong year for staff training among businesses in the West Midlands.Companies across the region are preparing for an upturn in economic growth and this is encouraging them to invest in boosting the skills of their workforces.This is according to the latest Business Factors Index from Bibby Financial Services, which found that West Midlands firms are going to be turning their attention to training and development in the months ahead.It also revealed that six in ten hope to achieve substantial growth in the next 12 months, the Birmingham Post reports.The index noted that certain small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners are still struggling through tough economic conditions, with a lack of government funding holding them back from reaching their full potential.However, eight in ten admitted they had failed to seek financial support during the final period of the year.Despite this, it is a positive sign that an increasing number of organisations are expecting to provide more training, as a fully skilled workforce is crucial to improve company success.Sharon Wiltshire, a spokesperson for Bibby Financial Services in the West Midlands, said it is good news that businesses in the region are ploughing resources into future growth and it reflects their level of ambition.She continued: "Firms looking at staff development and training as a priority need the finance behind them to be able to make that investment in their staff. This is vital in underpinning a sustainable recovery both in this region and the rest of the UK."Business training is not just the focus of West Midlands companies, and it was recently reported that SMBs in Leeds are also set to receive a skills boost thanks to an initiative entitled the Response Project being launched by local organisations.This provides firms with advice on a number of areas, including recruiting apprentices, rolling out training to existing employees and coaching and mentoring.