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With Greater Manchester entering Tier 3 social distancing restrictions and businesses facing renewed challenges, a new service is being launched to help 4,000 SMEs reskill their workforces and future-proof their businesses over the next three years. 

Skills for Growth – SME Skills Support will also develop 17,000 individual skills plans to help Greater Manchester employees reskill and maximise their potential, mitigating their risk of redundancy and ensuring they prepare their personal skillset for a post-COVID-19 world. 

Funded by the European Social Fund and commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the £7m Skills for Growth – SME Skills Support package will be delivered by the Growth Company in partnership with the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC). 

Initially designed to support businesses in surviving the negative impacts of the pandemic, Skills for Growth – SME Skills Support will provide businesses with free and comprehensive guidance, working directly with individuals and business owners in the quest not only to survive but to thrive post COVID-19. 

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned that Britain’s economy is likely to be the hardest hit by COVID-19 in its study of 37 different countries. Young people in particular aged 16 to 24 are predicted to be amongst the most effected, with fears many may be left behind by the pandemic. Businesses are being encouraged to plan now for the future and look towards emerging areas of growth. 

People, Skills and Talent Lead Dawn Duggan says, “The post-Covid-19 world is full of opportunities and possibilities, with emerging technology, roles and the need for skilled individuals to fill them. It is for this reason that the Skills for Growth – SME Skills Support package launches today, to provide businesses and individuals with expert guidance and close support to ensure that they are able to utilise vocational and educational learning to their advantage both now and in the future. We invite you to join the skills revolution with us, to prepare for the new and exciting future that awaits us on the other side of the pandemic.” 

The Skills for Growth – SME Skills Support package will be available from Friday 30th October, accessible online for businesses and individuals, and will include the following free support services: 

  • Fully funded, tailored experience 
  • One-to-one consultation with our skills advisors 
  • Informative events and invaluable networking 
  • Expert guidance from our team and partners 

To find out more, visit or contact 


The Growth Company is an award-winning, not-for-profit social enterprise with a mission to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives. We provide individuals and businesses with a wide range of services that improve employment, skills, investment and enterprise for the benefit of all, and have been working in the Greater Manchester city region for more than 30 years. 

This project receives funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.  

The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.  

Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit 

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Skills for Growth - SME Support

Skills for Growth - SME Support

Skills for Growth - SME Support is a fully funded, tailored service to help upskills your employees and improve business productivity. We're here to help you grow your business through re-shaping, developing your talent and enhancing your team's performance.