As Lancashire’s manufacturing businesses continue to rebuild following the COVID–19 pandemic, Blackburn College is offering a unique opportunity for its graduating and progressing University Centre students to provide valuable, new skills to support business growth.

Latest Government statistics* show a promising 8.4% increase in the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP, but this is against a backdrop of a disappointing three-month downturn and challenging times ahead.

Blackburn College University Centre students will work with Lancashire’s manufacturing businesses, either on site or remotely, to offer new skills to the business, working to an agreed project brief over a number of weeks.

The intern initiative is part of the EnginE project which is designed to improve productivity for SMEs, helping them tackle common workforce development and skills challenges, such as recruiting and retaining great staff, delivering cost-effective training, upskilling and development for existing employees and making Apprenticeships work for their business.

Claire Shore, Senior Business Development Manager at Blackburn College, said: “We know that the new skills that our interns can bring will make a real difference to Lancashire’s manufacturers in these challenging times. Remote working has rapidly become accepted practice during the COVID-19 pandemic and I would encourage people to take advantage of the opportunity.

“Businesses can approach us with specific problems and we can then match them to one of our University Centre students who can use their skills to support the business for a fixed period of time. This skills support is free to the business and enables our interns to gain valuable experience.”

EnginE is part-funded by the European Social Fund and is delivered in partnership with Blackburn College, Blackpool & Fylde College, the Northern Automotive Alliance and Lancaster University; and in collaboration with Boost – Lancashire’s business growth hub. This means the support and advice businesses receive is fully-funded and the programmes, masterclasses and resources available are often heavily subsidised.

EnginE internships are available to Lancashire-based SMEs subject to specific eligibility criteria.

*Office for National Statistics – July 14th 2020.