L-R: Guy Nicholson, cabinet member for regeneration at Hackney Council; Jo Swinson, former business minister; Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD; David Frost, chair of People Skills Steering Group; Karen Pepper, global head of alliance banks at JP Morgan
Even with certain unnamed start-up magazines providing them quality advice and content, sometimes it can be hard for small businesses to find on the spot support to help them grow their business. Fortunately, this hasn’t escaped the attention of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which has developed a new programme in conjunction with the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to help support small businesses in managing and growing their workforce.
Launched today by former business minister Jo Swinson in Hackney, London, the People Skills programme will join with local partners to augment their existing business, skills and employment infrastructure. Its main foci will be on helping SMEs strengthen their leadership, management and HR capabilities, as well as helping them to invest in young people through work experience, apprenticeships, investment in training and forming links with local schools and colleges.
Beginning with three pilot areas across the UK – London, Stoke-on-Trent and Glasgow – the People Skills programme will be free for small businesses and will give them access to a range of tailored HR support. This will include one-to-one guidance from HR professionals, a helpline to discuss employment and skills issues, online information and templates to help form new employment processes and group training events around people management and skills development.
“Boosting productivity and giving young people the skills they need to get on in life are key priorities for the government,” said Anna Soubry MP, minister for small business, industry and enterprise. “We are also committed to making advice and support more easily available to our small businesses, so we welcome this scheme on both fronts.”
“One of the biggest challenges for policymakers today is how to encourage SMEs to invest more in young people to access talent,” added Hang Ho, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa for JPMorgan Chase Foundation. “But, just as importantly, if SMEs are to become more productive and grow, they need to make the most of their existing workforce through better people management and development. Therefore, we are delighted to support the People Skills programme and look forward to partnering with CIPD and other stakeholders to add to the thriving ecology of business support to enable SMEs to raise their game, to grow and get the most out of their people.”
So if you want a little help with your HR or some support around skills, it’s worth checking out the People Skills programme.