Wirral Met College works in partnership with Wirral Council to support local businesses

Wirral Met College is working closely with Wirral Council to help local small to medium sized businesses prepare to impress during the Golf Open, which comes back to Hoylake in July this year, alongside the International Festival of Business.  The Liverpool City region, which includes Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, is expected to attract an estimated 2.5 million extra visitors in 2014 due to its hosting of major events such as the Golf Open and International Festival of Business, and Wirral will play a key part in these activities.

Local people, whether employed or self-employed, will be able to enhance their skills and career prospects by taking advantage of free, world host training. Wirral Met College is playing a key role by providing this training to make excellent customer service synonymous with Liverpool City Region.  Thanks to the Employer Skills Fund, which provides funding and support from the European Social Fund ‘Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW)’ and the Skills Funding Agency, this has been made possible.

Sue Higginson, Principal at Wirral Met College, said that, “Supporting small and medium sized businesses, and self-employed individuals, is absolutely fundamental to the development and success of our local economy. As a college, Wirral Met is pleased to be leading Skills Support for the Workforce, a European funded initiative that is co-financed by the Skills Funding Agency. I cannot think of a better use for some of this funding, than to help businesses develop the skills of their workforce and embrace the opportunities provided from events such as the Open Golf and International Festival for Business. We are working closely with the Local Authority and the Liverpool City Region’s Local Enterprise Partnership, to support them in maximising the impact that these opportunities present in improving our economy, now and in the future.”   

The World Host training incorporates essential skills to provide a professional service to customers.  From improving communication with visitors, customers and colleagues from other cultures, increasing awareness and sensitivity towards customers with disabilities, to ambassador workshops to prepare staff to act as true representatives of where they live and work. This qualification prepares participants to work in customer service roles throughout the hospitality, retail, leisure, travel and tourism sectors. 

Busy companies such as hoteliers, bars and restaurants, retailers and leisure outlets often struggle to provide effective training to their employees, to improve their bottom line profits. This is an ideal short training programme, which lasts just two and a half days, with minimum interruption to the workplace ensuring maximum impact to improving performance.

Cllr Pat Hackett, Wirral Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy said: "Wirral's visitor economy is currently worth over £310million and employs over 4,400 people. Jobs within the tourism sector have increased by 7% over the past 5 years and it is vital that those working in the sector continue to develop their skills so that our visitors experience the very best service.

“The World Host sessions, delivered by Merseylearn and Wirral Metropolitan College and tailored specifically for our Wirral Tourism Business Network, will not only update the knowledge and skills of those within the sector, but also help to achieve vital return visits to our region. This is particularly important given the return of The Open Championship in July and the first International Festival for Business in the city region. Indeed, working together is integral to sustaining and growing our economy, and we look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to our area this summer."

One organisation which has already benefited from World Host training is restaurant Gusto in Heswall.  Business Development Manager at Gusto, Laura-Jane Hall, said, “I had a fabulous day’s training on the Customers with Disabilities course provided by World Host through Wirral Met. It was a free course that would benefit any member of staff no matter what their position. It was interesting, interactive and informative and I learnt things I didn’t even know I didn’t know! I absolutely can’t recommend the World Host courses highly enough.”

World Host training sessions are being provided across the Wirral over the coming months and they’re just a phone call away; Wirral Met College’s Employer Services team are already taking bookings on 0151 551 7610 or via email employer.services@wmc.ac.uk.

The Open Golf tournament and International Festival for Businress are also bound to offer new opportunities for those who are currently unemployed, as businesses need to recruit additional staff to help them provide excellent service to the additional visitors coming to the area.  Wirral Met College is once again working with Wirral Council and Jobcentre Plus to provide a range of pre-employment training packages, to help jobseekers gain the skills to get temporary and permanent work.

The college’s Learning Shop team are already working with those looking for a job; there’s no better time than now to get back into the workplace!  Further information is available on 0151 647 8433, via email wmc.pyramids@wmc.ac.uk, or by calling into the Learning Shop, which is based in the Pyramids Shopping Centre, next to M&S.

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