Leading Lancashire project empowered learners to shine

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More than 600 individuals employed by Lancashire-based Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have benefitted from the University of Central Lancashire’s Executive Education and Leadership-led Leading Lancashire project.

The Leading Lancashire project, part-funded by the European Social Fund, delivered nearly 200 courses and workshops, helping build skills and confidence through its 36 development programmes which included mentoring and support alongside bespoke leadership and management training sessions. The sessions ranged from half-day workshops and masterclasses to full-day and longer five - eight day professionally accredited programmes.

The project which ran from November 2019 through to December 2022, initially ran into challenges as the pandemic hit, requiring it to quickly adapt its delivery of courses as they moved from face-to-face to online. Feedback from attendees was positive, especially about the convenience of online delivery, so much so that the project continued with a hybrid model post-pandemic.

Michelle Lyons noted: “We found that during the project, the training needs of beneficiaries changed. We had to be agile, adapting our offer so that it remained relevant for the SME workforce.”

Jonathan Holding from Yordas Group based in Lancaster said: “The Coaching Conversation course was presented in such a way that it made you enthusiastic to apply the techniques that were talked about. It was up there with the best online learning sessions I have ever taken. The tutors were great at bringing a group of learners together and leaving us feeling empowered to take our learning further. I was positively buzzing afterwards.’’

"The tutors were great at bringing a group of learners together and leaving us feeling empowered to take our learning further. I was positively buzzing afterwards."

Jonathan Holding, Yordas Group

Recipients of the training not only benefitted from online delivery, they had the opportunity to develop skills in areas such as managing change and transition, business finance, project management and women’s leadership development. They also had the opportunity to receive industry-accredited qualifications from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

The project helped people deliver impact in their roles and potentially helped them to secure a promotion, as well as allowing them time to reflect on their strengths, learn new skills, network, and plan their potential development. Laura Smith from Hawthorn Estates NW Ltd welcomed the guidance on offer, acquiring new skills and techniques which could be practically applied within her organisation. Laura said: “I wanted to challenge myself and gain knowledge to develop and in turn help others within my organisation to explore their goals.” Laura now hopes to continue her studies adding “I would like to continue to learn, develop and challenge myself. Ideally, I would like to undertake an MBA in the future.”

To be eligible, individuals needed to be aged over 16, employed/self-employed in a Lancashire based SME with less than 250 employees and eligible to live and work in the UK.

Project partners

We were the lead accountable body for the project and one of the delivery partners. The Leadership Hub (School of Business and Justice) were responsible for the project management and delivery. There were eight other delivery partners on the project:

Whilst this project has closed, the University actively supports regional businesses. Find out more through our Enterprise and Engagement Unit who will review your enquiry and signpost you to the most appropriate area of continuing support.

Case studies