Sheffield City Region Skills Bank recognises the challenges businesses are facing as a result of COVID-19 and has launched new strands of the programme to help. In this second of a series of blogs for unLTD, we find out how Skills Bank helped open up ‘whole new markets’ for Silkstone Environmental

Surveying services company Silkstone Environmental has praised Sheffield City Region’s Skills Bank programme after securing vital training for staff during lockdown.

When the pandemic took hold of the nation, the company’s survey department essentially closed overnight.

Silkstone Environmental took action to look for new opportunities and to find new ways of securing business. They did this by securing a land surveyor qualification for their Surveyor, Ben. This allowed them to bid for new work thanks to the new skills and qualification they had achieved. They had expanded their portfolio to offer a land surveying service.

Jill Barrett, Director, says: “Before I searched for support, Skills Bank wasn’t something I knew anything about. However, after putting in a request to find out more, I spoke to one of the skills advisors, Amanda Ryalls, who explained to me how Skills Bank could help us, and the history the programme has of supporting businesses.

“Amanda assessed the skills needs of the business and worked closely with me to identify what support was available and how Skills Bank could provide a viable solution.

“Amanda helped out with our application to ensure it was as good as it could be before we submitted. We were really impressed by how straightforward and quick the process was. From our application to confirmation we’d been successful was less than two weeks, which, during the current climate, gave us some added peace of mind.

“Ben will come out of this with a level 3 diploma in Engineering Surveying which means we can bid for larger projects where several Surveyors can work together. Up to now, when tendering for some projects we’ve had to outsource aspects away from our business, or indeed have been unable to tender due to being unable to hit the deadline. Ben gaining this formal qualification will open us up new potential clients and whole new markets and expand what we can offer to existing customers.”

Ben added: “This training will provide me with updated knowledge of ever-changing survey methods. The qualification I’ll gain will provide greater confidence in my knowledge and understanding of the ways of working to get the best results for the client. It will also give me the opportunity to work towards becoming a registered chartered surveyor in the future, which obviously will improve my experience and my CV.”

Skills Bank provides employers across the Sheffield City Region access to high-quality training and funding to enable them to develop their business.

Skills Bank has launched two new strands to its programme to help businesses affected by the Coronavirus.

The new strands include a suite of online training programmes developed for businesses who need support during the crisis and a rapid response offer for businesses helping with the government’s Coronavirus strategy, such as producing protective personal equipment (PPE) or sanitisers.

Expert skills advisors help businesses to submit their applications and advise what other business support is available.

To make an enquiry visit