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£1.1m free courses package

PUBLISHED: 09:55 09 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:38 03 July 2010

A £1.1m lifeline was announced for Norfolk yesterday to “create new futures” for vulnerable workers and businesses suffering during the recession.

The package of free courses is targeted at those at middle-management level who have been made redundant or are at-risk of redundancy, unemployed recent graduates, and small and medium-sized business.

A £1.1m lifeline was announced for Norfolk yesterday to “create new futures” for vulnerable workers and businesses suffering during the recession.

The package of free courses is targeted at those at middle-management level who have been made redundant or are at-risk of redundancy, unemployed recent graduates, and small and medium-sized business.

It will enable the University of East Anglia (UEA) and partners Norfolk County Council, City College Norwich and Norwich University College of the Arts to run a free programme of activities to develop skills and business opportunities.

It follows a successful bid by the university for £500,000 from the Economic Challenge Investment Fund, run by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), to offer rapid support to 2,000 people and 500 businesses hit by the economic downturn, continuing until September 2010.

Match funding has come from UEA and the partner organisations, along with contributions in kind, such as free marketing and room hire, from other partners, including district councils.

The UEA's successful bid is one of 58 in England announced today by HEFCE.

Key features of the UEA programme include preparing people with the high skills levels that will be in demand in the future, and supporting development in potential economic growth sectors, such as low-carbon technologies.

The short courses will cover areas such as carbon management, leadership management, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, service and customer orientation, and advance IT skills.

At Norwich University College of the Arts, the funding will support a mentoring scheme to assist graduates and others to enter the creative industries.

Prof Nikos Tzokas, head of Norwich Business School at UEA, said: “It is great news, it will help create new futures for these people and businesses.

“The programme will capitalise on Norfolk's educational institutions' knowledge strengths and has been specifically designed in conjunction with key stakeholders and partners to address the economic challenges and contribute to sustainable prosperity.”

He said that individuals and businesses interested in the programme would first undergo an “audit” to find out what the best course would be for them.

Daniel Cox, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “This is fantastic news for people and businesses in Norfolk, and we're delighted to be part of this valuable initiative.”

The university is keen to hear from anyone interested in taking part in the programme. For more information contact Dr Kevan Williams on 01603 591634 or email kevan.williams@uea.ac.uk.


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