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Business advice and support

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Welcome to Wiltshire Council’s business support and advice pages. The business team at Wiltshire Council is here to support your business towards achieving sucess.

Whether you are starting a new business, looking to expand, new to the county or looking to re-locate ,we can help you with advice, premises, people and funding. As well as attracting new companies, we greatly value our existing business base.

Along with our partners, we are investing funding and resources to assist new and existing companies with information, advice and support covering a range of critical business issues.

Advice for businesses

Inspire Business is funded by Wiltshire Council to deliver a range of business support services to start-up and existing businesses.

Business Managers are on hand to provide advice and support to help businesses start, grow and succeed. Free Becoming Your Own Boss Seminars and Start Up Saturdays are held throughout the County every month. The Business Growth Programme is a series of workshops for existing businesses to help them with business planning, finding finance, getting customers and to introduce business owners to experts who can support them throughout their growth.

You can find further details and access information on the Inspire Business website. Contact the team by email team@inspirebiz.co.uk or telephone 01225 355553 or follow on Twitter @Inspire_Biz.

Supporting investment and relocation

The Wiltshire Investment Service is free and open to all existing businesses in Wiltshire as well as those looking to locate here. Support available is tailored to individual needs and also includes access to a free Commercial Property Database.

Encouraging local trade

The Buy Wiltshire website provides access to contract opportunities with public sector organisations across the South West as well as local information on business initiatives in Wiltshire.


What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a real job with training... so you can earn while you learn and pick up some recognised qualifications as you go. Apprenticeships are aimed at young people between the ages of 16 and 24 or adults aged 25 and over. As an apprentice you’ll be employed and will study for a qualification with the full support and commitment of your employer. Apprenticeships involve a mix of classroom learning and practical hands-on experience in various settings. People who have been in a particular industry for a while, but have a new job role, may also be considered for an apprenticeship.

Key benefits of an apprenticeship

  • Earn a salary while you learn,as well as other employeebenefits.
  • Progress your career - Employers think that qualified apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications.
  • Achieve sought-after qualifications - apprenticeships are the gold standard for work-based learning, and you can gain valuable workplace skills and experience.
  • Learn job-specific skills - your employer will provide ‘on the job’ training. You’ll work alongside themand learn the ropes from inside the business.
  • Get paid holidays

The industry sectors they cover include:

Art and Design, Business Administration, Accountancy, Construction, Energy, Engineering, Food and Drink, Manufacturing, Hairdressing, Health and Social Care, Hospitality, The Motor Industry, Performing Arts, Retail, Science, Sports Management, Leadership and Coaching.

What types of Apprenticeshipare there?

There are three types of Apprenticeship you can apply for depending on your current skills and qualifications:

1 - Intermediate Level Apprenticeships, where you would work towards Level 2 qualifications and Functional Skills.

2 - Advanced Level Apprenticeships, where you would work towards Level 3 qualifications and Functional Skills.

3 - Higher Apprenticeships, give you the opportunity to gain level 4 qualifications and, in some cases, work towards a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree.

To find out more about how to apply for apprenticeships, and apprenticeship vacancies in the area visit the Apprenticeship Vacancies Matching Service and register with the apprenticeship vacancy matching service. For more information you could also visit Work Wiltshire or Your Choices.

Environmental guidance for your business

NetRegs guidance on environmental topics and guidance for chemical, paper and cardboard manufacturers and metal production and processing businesses can be found below:

Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is about driving innovation.

Their role is to stimulate technology-enabled innovation in the areas which offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity. They promote, support and invest in technology research, development and commercialisation. They spread knowledge, bringing people together to solve problems or make new advances.

General business advice

  • Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce - Business information and advice, details of training courses, lobbying services, and information on local trading and networking.
  • Federation of Small Business - If you are a small business interested in finding out more about business news and policy, or would like legal and financial advice.
  • UKWelcomes - For EU residents, information on starting up a business, business finance and grants, tax, sales and marketing, IT and e-commerce.
  • Jobcentre Plus - Offers support for businesses regarding staff recruitment and redundancies.

The Enterprise Network (TEN)

The Enterprise Network (TEN), a £5.2m initiative led by Wiltshire Council, is nurturing new and growing micro businesses in Wiltshire and rural Swindon by supporting them right from the ‘light bulb’ moment. 2014 could be the best year ever to launch or grow a small business in Wiltshire and rural Swindon

Employment and skills

The employment and skills team seeks to create an environment that will support the development of a skilled and competitive workforce, meet the needs of employers both now and in the future and drive business development and economic growth.

The main priorities are:

  • Address the priorities of tackling the county’s unemployment
  • Assist young people to acquire the appropriate competencies, employment skills and experience of the work environment
  • Improve employability by developing attitudinal, vocational and academic skills.
  • Develop a framework of support for young people and other new labour market entrants to attain and sustain their first employment.
  • Support employers to develop their workforce to sustain and grow their business
  • Make sure that skills match business need through provision that is appropriate and accessible for employer and learners needs
  • Make sure there is a maximisation of skills utilisation
  • Deliver Apprenticeship growth in Wiltshire
  • Improve access to higher education facilities and employment courses

Some of the leading initiatives that they are currently involved in delivering include:

Project IMPRESS (Innovative and Meaningful Post Recruitment Employment Support Services)

Project IMPRESS is a new initiative which will offer effective post-recruitment support and skills development for individuals in Wiltshire aged 16 and over who have recently returned to work after six months or more of unemployment or who are new to the workforce and need continued support in order to keep that employment for sustained periods. The initiative is part of a wider project which will be delivered in parts of southern England and northern France. The project is funded through a successful bid to the European Union’s Channel Programme as well as Wiltshire Council’s Action for Wiltshire programme.

For further information about Project IMPRESS please contact the Project Manager/Employment Support Work, on 01225 716507 or email impress@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Flexible Support Fund and Action for Wiltshire

As part of its Action for Wiltshire programme, we are working in partnership with Wessex District Jobcentre Plus (JCP) to support 150 JCP customers to get back into work by helping them overcome employment barriers.

The initiative will provide people with personal development and job coaching to help them identify and overcome barriers such as transport or childcare issues, a lack of confidence or skills, learning difficulties or being faced with a sudden illness or long-term health issues. The aim is to then work with local employers to give the 150 people the best opportunity to secure quality, structured work experience placements. Those identified as facing the most significant barriers and requiring the greatest level of support will be matched to a suitable six month sponsored job with a local employer. There will be 30 new jobs available.

For further information, please contact the senior development officer on 01225 756165 or econdev@wiltshire.gov.uk

Leonardo: Advantage Abruzzo for Employment

Throughout Wiltshire, an exciting European Union funded lifelong learning programme initiative called Advantage Abruzzo for Employment is currently being delivered by leading South West economic development consultancy Wessex Forum. In partnership with Job Centre Plus and endorsed by Wiltshire Council, the programme offers an outstanding opportunity for young people, 18 - 24 years old, who are keen to develop their employability and life skills through a 16 week work placement in the rural economic region of Abruzzo in Italy.

Those who get chosen to go on the programme gain new employability knowledge and skills in their preferred career through working a 40 hour week, living in a shared house and learning about living and being employed in a foreign country. Not only will they be mentored and supported by partner organisations in Italy, they will be supported on their return to the UK by Job Centre Plus and Wiltshire Council to help them back into work and further develop their career prospects.

Advantage Abruzzo For Employment provides positive work experiences, language skill training and a real life learning experience. It is felt by all assisting partners involved that this programme positively enhances the career opportunities and changes life out-looks of those from Wiltshire taking part.

For further information contact Peter Beech Allen at Wessex Forum on 0845 0043433 or speak to Wiltshire Council’s Employment and Skills Team on 01225 713217.

You can find more information on the EU Life Long Learning Programme fund on the Leonardo website.

Wiltshire Skills 4 Success

This tailored programme will help to support Wiltshire’s young people to gain the basic skills and knowledge they need to move successfully from school into further education, training or employment. Through it we hope to prepare young people for the world of work while giving them the change to take part in enjoyable and worthwhile activities.

The programme will run from August 2012 to July 2014. It started with a pilot of activities in the autumn of 2012, with the main programme due to start in April 2013.

Target beneficiaries include:

  • Children in primary school (targeted to age 9 and 10 year olds)
  • Children in secondary school (targeted to age 14 and 15 year olds)
  • Young people aged 16 - 24 – module based activity.

Clear gaps to address include::

  • Helping schools and local businesses to build relationships and engage employers in education.
  • A need to improve careers education, information, advice and guidance to make sure young people are aware of the opportunities available to them. Help young people to make informed choices, inclreasing their confidence, motivation and desire to succeed.
  • A missing role in linking all relevant provision and greater co-ordination of effort.
  • Sustainability of work delivered by highly successful programmes about to end or already ended due to funding cuts.

The modular activities of the programme will include things such as confidence building, team building, interview skills/job preparation, labour/workforce education, job search/research techniques, literacy, numeracy and communication, presentation/dress and networking. Non-modular activities include interview workshops and engagement work with a key worker/mentor.

The following activities are some that have been identified as key to include in either the pilot or main programme.

  • Interview forum workshops
  • NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) Prevention DVD
  • Individual resilience training
  • Enterprise rogrammes
  • Raising aspiration and role model networks

For further information, please contact our development officer on 01225 718500 or email:


Business engagement in education

We are also looking for insipring mentor and buddies from local business to share their knowledge and experience with young people in Wiltshire. Read more about the Business Engagement in Education programme. For further information contact our development officer on 01225 718500 or email skills4success@wiltshire.gov.uk

Economic Information bulletins

The employment and skills team produces a series of free bulletins each month dedicated to support employers and strengthen the Wiltshire economy.

For further information contact:econdev@wiltshire.gov.uk

Our economy and regeneration service also provides information on funding opportunities for schools in Wiltshire. The aim of this monthly funding information newsletter is to help schools/PTAs and those supporting education-related projects (curriculum and outside of school hours) to identify appropriate funding schemes available to them. If you would like to receive a copy of this please contact the development officer on 01225 756197 or email econdev@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Last updated: 11 June 2015



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