New Masterclasses Launched As Support Scheme Boosts More Than 300 Businesses

Business & Invest | Published on: 27th July 2022

Business bosses can now sign up to new fully funded leadership masterclasses to help prepare their businesses for the future.

Skills for Growth, part of the Tees Valley Business service established by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, has engaged with 302 businesses since its creation in February 2021, well on its way to hitting a target of 400 by June next year. The service has helped more than 634 employees start training as a result.

The programme’s new ‘Time for Change’ masterclass sessions are being delivered by Deloitte LLP and Learning Curve Group. These give local leaders the skills they need to establish their organisation’s culture and values, develop strategy plans and build a sustainable and effective workforce and maintain high-performance teams.

The first classes are now under way, with four more groups of the five sessions running between 7 September and May next year. On top of the sessions, leaders can also take advantage of four days of coaching and mentoring.

Feedback has already been very positive – Eric Powell, Purchasing Manager at Darlington-based engineering firm Henry Williams said: “The facilitator was superb, they have a real knowledge and understanding of this topic. The masterclasses are very informative and interactive; I learnt a lot from the first session alone. I think this is a great course for any business owner or manager of an SME.”

Another organisation to take advantage of Skills for Growth is Stockton charity FRADE – Furniture Reclamation and Delivery Enterprise – which aims to reduce poverty, reduce waste and support employability by selling quality donated furniture at a low price.

As an organisation providing support to upskill staff and volunteers to move towards paid employment, FRADE has a naturally high volunteer turnover and continual need to train. Skills for Growth has helped the charity source the right training and skills support so staff can develop.

General Manager, Michelle Tierney, told us: “Our volunteer workforce is the backbone of our charity, so we needed to identify a good source of regular training, particularly in terms of health and safety, to upskill our new and existing volunteers to provide them with the skills they need to complete their roles effectively and to give each individual the best chance of moving on to paid employment.

“It was extremely useful to have an impartial person to speak to about what our charity needed and what we could access. Without the help of Skills for Growth, FRADE simply would not have accessed the amount of training that we have secured and our business is now in a much stronger position thanks to the help that we received.”

Mayor Houchen said: “As our businesses continue to recover after the coronavirus pandemic, we’re rapidly entering a time where leaders are looking to long-term growth once again rather than immediate survival. There’s a wealth of opportunity for our innovators, job creators and entrepreneurs and these masterclasses will help them grow their workforce and skills so they can take advantage of them.

“It’s great to see the programme continuing to engage with so many companies to give local workers across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool the skills they need for rewarding careers. It’s just another way we’re making it as easy as possible for all of our brilliant businesses to succeed.”

For more information on the masterclasses visit

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