Springboard the launch pad for skills boost

Small and medium size businesses in Somerset can boost their staff training for free thanks to a new £265,000 project being launched by Somerset County Council in partnership with the Dorset and Somerset Training Provider Network (DSTPN).

Contracts have just been signed with four training providers – Aspire Training, Bridgwater and Taunton College, Hair Academy South West, and Somerset Business Agency – to deliver Skill Up Springboard. It offers businesses in Somerset access to free short courses for employees who are over the age of 18 to improve their skills and potentially climb the career ladder.

Funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), the courses can provide a taster of a new topic area, or gentle (re)introduction to formal learning, via an accredited unit of a full qualification.

By offering a taster, Springboard provides relevant information and encourages both the employer and employee to find out about the learning options and progression routes available. By completing a Springboard unit, those taking part could:

  • Progress onto apprenticeships, traineeships or full certificates and diploma in the same or similar topics to extend their learning.
  • Learn the skills necessary to secure the next role up in their organisation
  • Obtain the certification needed to prove skills they use day to day
  • Gain more responsibility in their current role due to new skills
  • Learn new skills which allow them to innovate, progress or streamline work they currently do.

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: “This is a great opportunity for small and medium size businesses to access training for their staff. I would urge them to apply or get in touch to find out more.

“I am delighted that all the hard work behind the scenes that has gone into applying for the funding and securing the training providers will benefit our business community.”

The County Council successfully bid for around £3m of ESF funding as part of the wider Somerset Skills for Growth programme and Springboard is the first project being delivered. Further training and skills opportunities are being developed as a result of the funding.

For further information on eligibility and the units that are available, please contact:


If you’re a business based in Taunton and West Somerset, you can also contact:

Marie Howard


07395 796297

If you’re a business based in South Somerset, Sedgemoor, or Mendip, you can also contact:

Nikki Blackwell


07857 670806