EMPLOYERS in the North-East will be supported by £8m to help improve the skills of their workforces as they emerge from recession.

The funding, from the European Social Fund through the Train to Gain service, is aimed at helping people in work improve their skills and qualifications, from basic maths and English to higher levels.

It is the first time such a fund has been made available, and it is hoped that 15,000 people will benefit.

The funding is aimed at supporting economic recovery in the region, by helping employers who are recruiting unemployed people, and those returning to work, to train new recruits so that they have the up-to-date skills and qualifications they need to hit the ground running.

The support will mainly be targeted at specific employment sectors where there are job vacancies and the potential for sustainable growth and international success, including engineering and technology, IT, financial services, renewable energy, food and drink and social care.

Chris Roberts, regional director of the Learning and Skills Council North-East, which delivers Train to Gain, said: “There are early signs that the country is slowly recovering from the recent downturn and we want the North-East to be in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that this will bring.”