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Businesses in the East of England will have access to training grants that will equip staff with new skills and move their business forward, following a major £6.2 million investment by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

Announced today, the ‘Beyond 2010' programme also offers a comprehensive ‘Response to Redundancy' service for businesses in the region to help re-train workers who are facing unemployment.  

Beyond 2010 has been launched by EEDA who, with the help of European money, will give small to medium-sized enterprises - employing up to 250 staff - the opportunity to receive 50 per cent of their training costs.

The new programme will help the region's businesses raise their productivity through improved skills training. As part of the programme, businesses can contact specialist sector advisers who are able to discuss higher level training needs in detail and agree with the business which training course will best meet their needs.

The ‘Response to Redundancy' arm of Beyond 2010 will provide advice, guidance and re-training opportunities to workers facing redundancy. It gives early support to certify their existing skills, and provides appropriate training to improve their opportunities in the new job market when they are made redundant.

Deborah Cadman, chief executive of EEDA, said:

"Developing new skills is absolutely essential for any business looking to increase productivity. But perhaps more importantly, and certainly in the context of the current global economic downturn, a skilled workforce is an adaptable workforce."

"Businesses may well need to re-orientate themselves to cope with the challenges they face, and Beyond 2010 really will equip them with the assets they need to compete more effectively in national and international markets. It's not about throwing money at training. It's about working with a business to find out what skills their staff need to take them to the next level, and then finding the right targeted solution."

Beyond 2010 is the follow-up to the successful ‘Towards 2010' programme which helped nearly 2,400 businesses to train over 8,800 of their staff in areas which made tangible differences to their business performance. Beyond 2010 will also work alongside the Learning and Skills Council-funded Train to Gain programme to ensure businesses are offered tailored and comprehensive training solutions.

Beyond 2010 is just one example of publicly-funded business support featured on the people and growth ‘lines' of EEDA's new Business Map. Inspired by the design of the Underground map, the Business Map is exclusively available to businesses in the East of England, and has been designed to make it easier for businesses to find vital forms of support.

From increasing sales to employing staff, maximising growth opportunities to finding the right source of finance, the map takes businesses on a clearly-defined route through support services available.

To find out more about the Beyond 2010 programme, visit http://www.bizmapeast.co.uk/.