Having identified their biggest restraint to future growth was the potential lack of local “raw” ICT skills, the company has embarked on developing their own training academy to help cultivate new talent. The ‘risual Academy’ was launched in partnership with Stafford College on 20th February 2015 and offers apprenticeships to those interested in working within ICT, with the expectation that each successful apprentice will be offered a full-time role at risual once their apprenticeship is completed.
The contribution towards the major investment made by risual came via a grant funded through the High Growth Investment Programme, announced in May 2014 by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, which is managed and operated by Blue Sky Corporate Finance.
The funding was secured from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund through Lancaster University, who are leading the creation of 15 new growth hubs across the UK. It is designed to enable local companies to realise their growth potential by offering grant funding for expansion, capital equipment purchases, support for training, and research and development.
James Nixon, Commercial Manager, risual Limited said: “The long-term success of any business is in its ability to develop future talent, which is why we are delighted that Blue Sky Corporate Finance were able to assist us in securing the funding required to enable us to proceed with this innovative project aimed at inspiring young people in the ICT sector.”
David Baker, Associate, Blue Sky Corporate Finance added: “Having identified a potential future short-fall in ICT skills the risual Academy offers the necessary training to enable young people within the area to create a career within an exciting and progressive industry. Successful selection for the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire High Growth Investment Programme is based on supporting local businesses with their growth ambitions and ultimately generating new employment in the region – we believe the risual Academy fulfills these requirements through its investment by ensuring local people are sufficiently skilled to fulfil the ICT roles needed now and in the long term.”
David Frost, Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP stated: “We want to see an increase in apprenticeships across our LEP area and people gaining the skills to enable them to kick-start their career. This is exactly what our Growth Hub is here to do – support business growth and skills development in our workforce. risual Limited has demonstrated its commitment to develop skills locally and shown innovation in its launch of the academy and partnership with the college. One of our priorities is to see strengthened links between business and colleges and this is a fine example of how this can work in our area.”