City of Wolverhampton Council is celebrating after picking up a prestigious award at the fifth annual Federation of Small Businesses 'Small Business Friendly Local Authority and Local Enterprise Awards'.

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The Skills for Growth - Careers into Care programme has won the Best All Round Small Business Friendliness honour.

The council has identified the care sector as a priority focus for the city and, through the programme, employers are being offered a tailored support service to help with recruitment, up skilling and retention of their new and existing workforce.

The service provides independent employment consultancy and brokerage for sector employers.  It also links to schools, colleges and training organisations offering access to apprenticeships and training.

Karen Woolley, Development Manager for Federation of Small Businesses, said: "City of Wolverhampton Council recognises the challenges that businesses face around recruitment, which for an SME can be particularly resource intensive.

"Having identified that there are an estimated 7,600 jobs in adult social care across the city with some 5,700 - of which over half are linked to SMEs - being in the private sector, this tells us that the council totally gets the fact that skills and employability are major factors for many of our members and other small businesses.

"Any measures which help to marry up the opportunities within small businesses with a willing and reliable workforce are greatly appreciated.

"The care industry is a sector which suffers greatly from high churn and therefore labour and resource intensive measures are needed to replace staff. 

"We welcome any measures which can assist with this burden for all small businesses involved in this all important sector. 

"We thank City of Wolverhampton Council for this and other dedicated work streams they produce which assist small businesses to survive and prosper."

Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, added: "We are delighted to receive this award.

"It highlights the hard work we are putting into recruiting and helping develop people's skills in this sector.

"Well done to all the team on this project - they fully deserve this honour."

It is not the first time in recent years the City of Wolverhampton Council has been recognised at the Federation of Small Businesses awards.

In 2013 it picked up a Highly Commended award in the Best all Round Small Business Friendliness category for its Business Networks project, in 2014 it was Highly Commended in the Best Small Business Friendly Programme or Campaign category for its Wolverhampton Women's Business Forum (WWBF), and last year the Black Country GOLD initiative was Highly Commended in the Best Small Business Friendly Programme or Campaign category.

  • released: Monday 10 October, 2016